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LI E) R.ARY 

OF THE 

UN IVLR5ITY 

or ILLINOIS 

823 

R43le 
V.2 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/earlspromisenove02ridd 



THE EARL'S PROMISE. 



THE EARL'S PROMISE 



% llobcl, 



BY 

MES. PvIDDELL, 

AVTHOE OF 
GEOEGE GEITH," "TOO MUCH ALONE," " HOME, SWEET HOME,' 
ETC. 



IN THEEE VOLUMES. 
YOL. II. 



LONDON : 

TINSLEY BROTHERS, n, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 

]S73. 

[All rlrjhts ofTranslttlou and licproJitcfioii are lieserreJ.'] 



PRINTED Br TAYLOR AXD CO., 
LITTLE QUEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS. 



i^3 

v» ^ 



CONTENTS 



THE SECOND VOLUME, 



CHAP. 

I. MRS. BRADY UNDERSTANDS HER POSITION 



II. COMING EVENTS . 

III. SEVEN YEARS AFTER . . . 

IV. THE LAST JOURNEY . 
V. THE people's FRIEND 

VI. THE MUTTERING OF THE STORM 
VII. FEET OF CLAY . 
VIII. BY THE SAD SEA WAVES . 
IX. WHAT THE WAVES WHISPERED 
X. WHEN DOCTORS DIFFER 
XI. NO CHANGE 



PAOB 
1 

25 

47 
77 
114 
150 
178 
214 
248 
270 
294 



THE EARL'S PROMISE 



CHAPTER I. 

MRS. BEADY UNDERSTANDS HER POSITION. 

Tacitly Kingslough had decided that Mrs. 
Brady was not to be visited. Just as by one 
consent the public sometimes agrees to con- 
demn an untried man, so gentle and simple 
made up their minds not to enter the gates of 
Maryville. 

Those of Nettie's own class, having regard 
to that which they considered a mesalUance^ 
quietly tabooed the foct of her marriage and 
her existence ; those of a lower grade, re- 
^^ membering what Miss O'Hara's father had 
been, and what the Rileys were, feeling if they 
called upon the young wife she might not 

VOL. II. B 



The EarPs Promise, 



feel grateful for their attentions, agreed it 
might be prudent for them to abstain from 
showing any. 

Wherein they were wise. Scant civility 
would any one have met from Nettie, who, 
presuming upon an altered position, had tried 
to force unwelcome acquaintanceship on her. 
Mrs. Brady was not one to be satisfied with 
dry bread when she had expected to feast on 
cake. 

She could do without either. That was 
what the uplifting of her little head and the 
defiant flash of her blue eyes silently informed 
society. 

'-^ She could live alone, she would live 
alone," this the burden of her talk to Mrs. 
Hartley, who, being above or below the con- 
siderations that usually influenced the going 
and coming of Kingslough's upper ten, could 
afford to set precedence and public opinion at 
defiance, hired the best covered car Kingslough 
boasted, and drove solemnly out to Maryville 
to see the bride, and give her some old-fashioned 
advice as to the way in which she was to order 



Mrs. Brady Understajids Her Position. 3 

lier future conduct, and make a good thing of 
the years that had still to come, still to be 
lived somehow, happily or miserably, credit- 
ably or the reverse. 

^' One day," Mrs. Brady proceeded, 
*^ perhaps they" (they stood for the retired 
officers of the army and navy, the clergy, 
the attorneys and agents, the widows, 
old maids, poodles, and others who con- 
stituted the aristocracy of Kingslough) 
^' may wish to knoAV me again, and then I 
will have nothing to do with them." 

'^ When that day comes," said Mrs. Hartley, 
with the coolness which exasperated so many 
of her acquaintances, '' you will of course have 
as perfect a right to select the houses at which 
you choose to visit as the Kingslough people 
have now." 

'-'- Or as I have now," amended IS'ettie. 

^'Pardon me, I think your selection is at 
present cenfined to those at which you will 
not visit," answered Mrs. Hartley. '^ It is of 
no use, Nettie," she went on, stroking the 
bright, fair hair kindly and sorrowfully, ^'it is 



The EarPs Proinise. 



of no use trying to fight the world single- 
handed. You are very young and you are 
very pretty, and you have a will of your own 
and a temper of your own that few gave you 
credit for possessing ; but neither youth nor 
beauty, nor obstinacy, nor being at bottom 
a little atom of a vixen will win this battle for 
you. If you take an old woman's advice, you 
will lay down your arms, and let people 
imagine you are still the gentle, quiet Xettie 
they used to see going to school. You cannot 
eat your cake and have it. You knew per- 
fectly what Kingslough thought, whether 
rightly or wrongly, of Mr. Brady, and still 
you chose to marry Mr. Brady. Xow you 
want Mr. Brady and Kingslough as well ; at 
least, you are bitter because Kingslough has 
not welcomed your return with open arms. 
"What you ought to say to yourself now is, 
' IS'ever mind, I have got my husband to care 
for and to love me, and so long as we are 
happpy together^ no slights the world chooses 
to put upon us can affect us much ; ' " and as 
Mrs. Hartley ended this very proper sentence^ 



Mrs, Brady Understmids Her Position. 5 

she looked closely and curiously at ^N'ettie, 
ivtLO, muttering something about the heat 
of the room, rose and opened one of the 
windoTvs. 

It proved rather a long operation, but when 
she returned to her seat the flush Mrs. Hartley 
had noticed rising even to her temples had not 
faded quite away. 

^^!N"ext time you come to see me," l^ettie 
hegan, ignoring the previous subject of con- 
versation, ^' I hope you will find the house 
looking more comfortable. We have furniture 
coming from Kilcurragh, but it cannot be here 
for a few days." 

''My dear," said Mrs. Hartley, '^ furniture 
does not necessarily mean happiness, any 
more than — " 

'-'- Oh, I know that, of course ! " Nettie 
interrupted, a little peevishly ; '' still one would 
wish to have a few chairs, and perhaps a 
couple of tables in a sitting-room, for all 
that." 

It was characteristic of ^Irs. Brady that she 
elected to receive her visitor in the drawing- 



Tlie EarPs Promise. 



room, wliicli looked like a barren wilderness, 
and [contained very few more articles of 
furnitm-e tlian wken she first beheld its gaunt 
and pretentious nakedness, rather than in the 
smaller apartment where John Eiley and 
his father had held their interview with her 
husband. 

Mrs. Hartley sat on the dilapidated sofa 
while Nettie tried to look comfortable on a 
very hard and very high, straight-backed 
ehair. Three windows, reaching from the 
floor almost to the ceiling, looked out on 
the weecl-grown garden and the tangled 
wilderness beyond, so that the visitor had 
plenty of light to view the old-fashioned 
chimney-piece, on the white marble of which 
cupids disported themselves, holding wreaths 
that seemed almost black with dirt — black and 
grimy as the wings of the cupids. 

Nevertheless a handsome chimney-piece — 
handsome and fantastic, like the great 
chandelier that hung in the centre of the- 
room, and seemed to Mrs. Hartley's critical 
eye to stand in as much need of a scrubbing 



Mrs. Brady Understands Her Position. 7 

as the floor itself, from contact 'with which 
she had carefully preserved her own dress, and 
would fain have advised IN'ettie to guard her 
muslin, had that young lady seemed more 
amenable to common sense, and less sensitive 
concerning the loss of social position induced 
by her marriage. 

To Mrs. Hartley it did not signify in what 
rank ]\Irs. Erady was now supposed to be, and 
she felt sorry to notice how much it appeared 
to signify to iN'ettie. She had known girls 
make foolish matches before, and she had seen 
them put up with the consequences, but never 
before had she beheld a young wife battling 
like Xettie against the results entailed by 
her own act. 

Dimly she began to fancy that the girl 
had married less for love of Mr. Brady than 
for weariness of her monotonous life, and that 
now, when the new life promised to be as 
monotonous as the old, and there was, besides 
no hope of escape from it, the hitherto un- 
suspected side of jSTettie's character was begin- 
ning to crop up. But Mrs. Hartley, though 



The EarPs Pn 



oviise. 



partly right, was yet greatly wrong, both 
in her premises and the results 'she deduced 
from them. 

JN'ettie had staked everything she owned — 
everything that seemed of value to her — 
in order to gain her husband, and now she 
knew he was not worth the price at which she 
purchased him. She had made a mistake 
which she would never be able to remedy. 
Xo ; not if she lived for a hundred years, and 
it was not in her nature to forgive society for 
deserting and leaving her to bear the eon- 
sequences of her error as best she might, all 
alone. 

She had taken her own course, and that 
course had made her bankrupt. The world 
might have helped to render the lot she had 
chosen happier, but virtually the world had 
turned its back upon her and said, ^' You may 
carry your burden as best you can. You 
may bear your trouble as well as you are 
able.'' 

That was the secret of !N'ettie's anger and 
Xettie's petulance. Her heart was bleeding, 



Mrs. Brady Understands Her Position. 9 

and not a hand was stretched forth to stanch it. 
Such fearful isolation, such utter desertion 
were almost maddening to Nettie, who had 
always thought a good deal of herself, and 
to whom it never occurred for one moment that 
when she went off with Mr. Brady, she took 
leave of her relatives and society at the same 
time. 

She could have quarrelled with her own 
shadow. She would have liked to strike some 
one, to scold as a very virago, and so get 
rid of even a part of the anger and sorrow, 
and disappointment and humiliation that were 
raging within her. She had gone as far as she 
dared with Mrs. Hartley, but to no purpose. 
She had tried to exhibit her grievances, and 
her sensible ^dsitor plainly said she had none ; 
implying rather, indeed, that society and her 
relatives were aggrieved instead. It was 
all very hard upon Xettie, and had Mrs. 
Hartley only suspected how thoroughly the 
girl already realized the completeness of her 
mistake, she might have dealt more gently 
with the blue- eyed beauty, whose pretty face 
had brought such ruin on her life. 



lo The EarPs Proviise, 

As it was, Mrs. H|xtley felt a little provoked 
with her former favourite. 

Elderly people are apt to be a little severe 
upon young ones when the ways and thoughts 
of the latter are beyond their comprehension ; 
and Mrs. Hartley was severe in her judgment 
of !N*ettie, more especially when their con- 
versation turned, as it soon did, upon Miss 
Moffat. 

'^ You have heard from Grace, I su^Dpose ?'^ 
said Mrs. Hartley. 

^' I have. She told you she had written to 
me, of coiu^se ? '' 

Mrs. Hartley wondered at the ^^of course,'^ 
but contented herself with answering 
^^Yes." 

^'Did she tell you also what she had sent 
me?" 

^^No; I do not think, whatever her faults 
may be, Grace is a girl to talk to one friend 
about any gift she might intend to make to 
another." 

''She sent me this!" !N'ettie exclaimed, 
pulling out of her belt an extremely beautiful 



M7's, Brady Understands Her Positio7i. 1 1 

and expensive watcli, wliicb. Mrs. Hartley 
recognized as one formerly belonging to Miss 
Moffat. '' She said in lier letter she wonld 
have bought me a new one — " for a moment 
the speaker's voice trembled, and she hesitated 
before finishing her sentence, ^^but in that case 
she must wait until her father went to Dublin, 
and she did not want to wait, and, besides 
that, she had worn this so constantly, it wa& 
like sending me a piece of herself, as she 
could not come to see me. And there was 
something besides the watch and chain." 
Here ISTettie, apparently on the brink of a 
confidence, broke off abruptly. 

'' /wanted to return her presents," she went 
on, after a pause, and Mrs. Hartley noticed 
how nervously and passionately the fingers of 
her clasped hands laced and twisted round and 
about, in and out of one another. '^ I would 
have sent them back, but Mr. Brady would 
not let me. I would not have kept anything 
in the house sent by a person who thought 
herself too good to come and see me ; but I 
could not help myself. It is not with any good- 



12 The EarPs Pn 



ojiiise. 



will I wear this thing. I would rather Gracie 
had come to see me than that anybody had 
given me ten thousand pounds ; and if she did 
not like to do that, she ought not to have made 
me presents, and I told her so ; Mr. Brady 
could not prevent my doing that, and I did it." 

^' Then you ought to be ashamed of your 
ungrateful childishness ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Hartley; '^ and I only wish Mr. Brady could 
have prevented such an exhibition of temper. 
It is nothing but temper which is the matter 
with you, IN'ettie ; and if you do not take care, 
you will lose the few friends who have re- 
mained true to you, and who will remain true 
to you if you choose to let them, foolish and 
inconsiderate though your conduct may have 
been." 

^^ Friends !" repeated !N"ellie scornfully, but 
tears filled her eyes as she spoke, and Mrs. 
Hartley, seeing them, relented. 

^' You have friends, dear," she said. ^* John 
Eiley is your friend, so am I, so is Grace. I 
am an old woman, and free to go where 
and to whom I choose ; but Grace is not 



Mrs. Brady Understands Her Position. 13 

free, she cannot come to see you, she can- 
not set uj) her own opinion against that of 
all her advisers. She has no mother ; you 
know yourself how little of a protector Mr. 
Moffat is capable of being, and till she mar- 
ries it behoves her to be careful and prudent. 
I think I may safely say, had Grace been Mrs. 
Eiley, you would have seen her here the day 
she heard of your arrival : as it is — " 

'■' She ought to have taken no notice of me, 
I should have felt it less," finished iN'ettie. 
'^ Tell her though, Mrs. Hartley," she went on, 
kneeling before that lady, and resting her 
arms across her lap, while she turned up her 
face, which looked at the moment pathetically 
beautiful, towards her mentor, '^ tell her I am 
sorry for writing that nasty letter ; tell her I 
did not mean half nor a quarter what I said in 
it ; but I was angry, I was hurt ; she ought 
not to have sent me money, it was like buying 
me off. It was treating me like a beggar." 

''- It is difficult to please every one," re- 
marked Mrs. Hartley ; " I am treated fre- 
quently like a thief, because I do not send 



14 The EarPs Pro?nise. 

money to those who have no right to it. But 
proceed. How did Grace happen so far to 
forget what was due to your feelings as to 
make this present ? " 

^' Do not laugh at me — oh ! don't/' entreated 
IN^ettie ; ''I thought Grace was fond of me, and 
it seemed so hard, so cold ! " 

" Grace is fond of you, and she is neither 
hard nor cold. "What did she say ? " 

^' You can see her letter, if you care to read 
it," l^ettie answered; and she went into the 
next room and fetched Miss Moffat's epistle. 

It was a simple, loving scrawl — Grace wrote 
an abominahle hand — and told how earnestly 
the writer hoped J^ettie would be happy, and 
how she wished she could go and see her, and 
how she sent a little token by which Nettie 
would know she was not forgotten ; and how, 
thinking there must be many things Nettie 
might want to buy in the way of di'ess, she en- 
closed her some money, which she hoped Nettie 
would take from her as if she was her sister. 

Nothing could have been more tenderly or 
delicately worded — there was not a sentence, 



Mrs. Brady Understands Her Position. 1 5 

not a syllable in the letter ^whicli could have 
given offence to any one who happened to be 
in a better frame of mind than was Mrs. 
Brady's case when she received it. 

^N'ever before, Mrs. Hartley felt, had she 
quite appreciated Grace Moffat. Certainly 
there was a sweetness and softness about her 
mentally which Nettie lacked. 

^^ You did not stand in need of this money," 
she said, folding up the letter and retm-ning 
it, ''or else you never could have resented a 
kindness so gracefully offered, or the feeling 
which prompted that kindness. What was the 
amount of her enclosure ? " 

''Fifty pounds," answered ;N"ettie, slowly 
and reluctantly. 

'' Upon my word. Miss Grace, when you 
come into your own, you will do things right 
royally ! " remarked Mrs. Hartley. She was 
astonished at the idea of Miss Moffat proffering 
such a sum, and yet while blaming the girl's 
reckless generosity, as she privately styled it, 
ajic was touched by it sensibly. Middle-aged 
people, who, having learned the value of 



1 6 The EarPs P. 



r 07 J use. 



money, look at a shilling twice before they 
spend sixpence, are not always displeased at 
the spectacle of a lavish liberality on the part 
of young folks. IS'evertheless, she intended to 
remonstrate with Miss Moffat, to point out the 
evil and folly of her pecuniary ways, and read 
her a lecture, which she well knew beforehand 
would be answered with many an '^ Ah, no ! '' 
and ^'Dear Mrs. Hartley," and ^^Well, but," 
and earnest excuse and playful protest, uttered 
by that soft, sweet, stealing voice which was 
■ — the Englishwoman confessed it with shame 
— almost reconciling her to the Irish accent. 

^^ If you really do not require the money, 
I^ettie, I should return the whole or part of 
it," said Mrs. Hartley, forgetful apparently of 
the statement Mrs. Brady had made when the 
subject of Grace was first broached. 

^^ I cannot," Nettie answered. 

*' "What, spent it all already ! " 

''No," she replied; '' I have given it 
away," and once again the tell-tale colour 
flamed in Nettie's cheeks. 

No good purpose was to be served in con- 



Mrs, Brady Ujiderstands Her Position. 1 7 

tinuing that conyersation, so Mrs. Hartley 
immediately guessed, and changed it. 

^^ Grace has refused John Eiley," she began. 

'' So I hear.'' 

" How did you hear it ? " 

^^ John told me, and I am very sorry. I did 
not say I was sorry to Grace because she might 
not believe me, but I am. She will never 
meet with any person one half so fond of her 
for herself as John." 

" I agree with you there," said Mrs. 
Hartley briskly; ^^but why do you imagine 
Grace would not have believed you felt sorry, 
if you told her you did ? " 

'^ Oh ! because I used to be foolish about 
things," answered Xettie, looking straight 
down the dreary expanse of uncarpeted floor 
that stretched between her and the other end 
of the room. 

'-^ About what things ? " asked Mrs. Hartley. 

''About lovers and husbands, and other 
nonsense of that sort," IS'ettie replied, as if she 
were five hundred years old. "I thought no 
girl could care for a man unless he was hand- 

VOL. II. c 



i8 The EarPs P, 



ro7mse. 



some ; and John is not handsome, you know. 
You remember the saying, Mrs. Hartley, that 
it is better to be ^ good than bonny.' I did 
not believe anybody could be good who was 
not bonny. I have learned better since then." 

Mrs. Hartley did not care to inquire '' since 
when ? " so she merely remarked, — 

^^ You were therefore, I suppose, always in- 
fluencing Grace against him ? " 

^^She did not need any influencing," was 
the calm reply. ^' She did not care for him — 
not — not in that way, and she did think he 
wanted her money as much as herself ; perhaps 
he did, he has not much of his own to spare ; 
and then ^e met Mr. Somerford, and he took 
her fancy with his playing and singing, and 
talk about painting, and rubbish of that sort. 
No," added Nettie abruptly, reverting to the 
question of Miss Mofi'at's rejected lover, "we 
did not often speak about John. She always 
said she never intended to marry any one ; and 
of course I had to listen, and seem to believe 
her." 

^^You did not not think she expressed 



Mrs, Brady Understands Her Position. 19 

her real intention, then ? " suggested Mrs. 
Hartley. 

^^ I am not sure. I think Grace is likely 
enough to stay single all her days, unless she 
marries Mr. Somerford, or some person like 
him; and I hope she will not marry Mr. 
Somer^rd, I do, from my heart." 

'^Why, ISTettie?" 

^' Because I do not think he is good enough 
for her. He has nothing inside his head except- 
ing selfishness and tbe roots of his curly-black 
hair,'' criticized Mrs. Brady, whose ideas on the 
subject of physiology were vague in the extreme. 

Mrs. Hartley laughed. Disparagement of 
that handsome scion of a worthless stock was 
very music to her ears. 

^'And besides," proceeded IN'ettie, ^^I am 
certain Grace would never be happy, stuck up 
amongst the peerage. I know she and the 
countess arc now never separate ; but she 
must be a greatly altered girl if she cares very 
much for being intimate with the nobility. 
However, there is no knowing," finished the 
speaker scntentiously. ^^ I suppose we arc none 

c2 



20 The EarVs P, 



roniisc. 



of us exactly what we seem/' and blue eyes 
and golden curls relapsed into reverie. 

"Where is your husband?" inquired Mrs. 
Hartley, after a moment's pause. She had 
hoped to see him, and she did not wish to end 
her visit without doing so. 

"Mr. Brady," said !N'ettie (it was a notice- 
able feature in the young wife's conversation 
that since the day when General Eiley and his 
son came upon her, standing by the broken 
sun-dial, she had never spoken of her husband 
as such, or addressed or referred to him by 
his Christian name) ; " Oh ! he has gone down 
the Lough as far as Port Clune, to look at 
some cattle he is thinking of buying. It saves 
ten or twelve miles going by water instead of 
round the headlands ; but he cannot be back 
before the evening. I am sorry it has so 
happened ; he will be grieved to have missed 
you." 

It struck Mrs. Hartley that although Mr. 
Brady might possibly be grieved, Mrs. Brady 
was certainly not sorry ; but she was rising to 
take her leave, taking ^NTettie's statement appa- 



Mrs, Brady Understands Her Position . 1 1 

rently for granted, wlieii the door opened, and 
the person of whom they had been speaking 
walked in. 

At sight of a visitor he hesitated for a 
moment, then came across the room and said 
how glad he was to see Mrs. Hartley, how 
proud to make her acquaintance. 

^' I did not know any one was here,'' he 
added (which must have been a mere figure of 
speech, since he had seen Mrs. Hartley's car, 
and learned fi'om the servant to whom it be- 
longed), " or I should not have appeared before 
you in such a plight." 

'' Where have you been ? what have you 
been doing? " inquired his wife. 

''I have been in the water," he replied, 
^'bringing Lady Glendare back to land. She 
got out of her depth, or caught by a current, 
or something of that sort, and would most 
likely have been part of her way back to 
England by this time, had we not happened to 
be passing." 

*' You ought to change your clothes at once," 
remarked Mrs. Hartley, practical and imcmo- 
tional as ever. 



22 The EarPs Proinise. 

^^ There is no hurry," answered Mr. Brady, 
laughing. ^' Mr. Moffat insisted on my taking 
an internal antidote against cold ; and, besides, 
salt water never hurts anybody.-' 

'' And the countess ? " inquired Xettie. 

^' Oh! there is not much the matter with her 

beyond fright. She was terrified. Miss 

Moffat, I suspect, has not come off so well. 

She was sitting at the door of the bathing-box 

when Lady Glendare's maid screamed, and in 

one moment (by George, I never saw anything 

so quick or so well done in my life) she was 

out along the rocks (how she kept her footing 

I cannot imagine), and made one leap after her 

ladyship. I was near the countess by that 

time, and Calpin had rowed in shore, so we 

saved them both ; but Miss Moffat is hurt, I 

know, though she will not confess it. What 

a girl that is ! " finished Mr. Brady refiectively ; 

'^what a spirit she has ! The first words she 

said to the countess, as Calpin and I were 

carrying her ladyship up to Bayview, were, 

' Of course there is no fear of the election 

now?' I rather fancy the election was a 



Mrs. Brady Understands Her Position, 23 

matter of secondary importance to Lady Glen- 
dare at that moment ; but Miss Moffat was 
right, nevertheless." 

Mrs. Hartley looked straight at ^Ir. Brady 
while he nttered the foregoing sentence. He 
was a handsome man, no one could deny that ; 
handsome after his kind ; and there was really 
nothing in the words he spoke calculated to 
annoy any one. But there was a manner 
about him that offended the lady's taste. 
More especially she hated the tone in which he 
alluded to Grace; and she felt angry with 
Grace for having made any remark capable of 
repetition in the presence of such a person. 

^' I am certain that your husband ought not 
to be standing here in his wet clothes," she 
said, turning to !N'ettie. ^^If you name an 
evening when you and Mr. Brady can come 
and take a cup of tea with me, I will not in- 
trude any longer upon you to-day." 

^' I do not think," Nettie was beginning, 
when Mr. Brady interrupted her, — 

'^ Annette and I have not so many engage- 
ments, Mrs. Hartley, that we need hesitate 



34 The EarPs Pro7nise. 

about accepting yours," he said. '^ Any even- 
ing which, suits you will be agreeable to us." 

^^ Thursday, then ? " suggested the lady. 

^^ Thursday, with many thanks," he re- 
plied. 

'^Tou know what that means, I suppose ?" 
remarked Nettie, when he returned, after help- 
ing Mrs. Hartley into her car. " She does not 
want us to call when Ave might meet other 
visitors, but asks us to tea when she will take 
good care to have nobody there." 

!N'ettie had not lived behind the scenes of 
high life in Kingslough for nothing. 

^^-N'ever mind," returned her husband, ^^ it 
is the thin edge of the wedge ; " and he went 
out to state to some of his astonished labourers 
that he wanted the drive weeded, gravelled, 
and rolled, and that they were to set about 
putting it in order immediately. 



25 



CHAPTEE II. 

COMING EVENTS. 

Is'oTHiNG but the desire of annoying Mrs. 
Somerford could have reconciled Lady Glen- 
dare to the bi- or tri- weekly dip with which 
she sought, and not unsuccessfully, to increase 
the earl's popularity amongst the Whigs of 
Kingslough and its dependencies. 

^inon de TEnclos, we are assured, preserved 
her beauty by a plentiful use of water ; but 
then that was rain water, and not salt, used 
also in privacy and under comfortable, not to 
say luxurious, circumstances ; and, besides, she 
was an exception to most rules, — certainly, if 
she pinned her faith to water pure and simple 



26 The EarPs Pn 



oniise. 



as a conservator of good looks, an exception to 
one. 

As for Lady Glendare, she never made a 
secret of her antipathy to what she styled the 
horrid and indecent practice of bathing in the 
sea. Exclusive in all her ideas, a Tory in 
every turn of her mind except as regarded the 
politics she professed, Lady Glendare looked 
upon soap and water, more especially water, 
as methods of cleansing intended by Provi- 
dence for those poor and busy persons who had 
little time to spend upon their toilettes, and 
less money to devote to the accessories of the 
dressing-table. She might indeed, so great 
was her objection to all ordinary modes of 
ablution, have been the original of that mother 
who, when she left her daughters at school, 
begged they should on no pretence be per- 
mitted to wash their faces. 

^^ A silk handkerchief," she suggested, 
'^ carefully passed over the skin, being sufficient 
for the purpose, and rendering injury to the 
complexion impossible." 

And, indeed, at a time when " making up " 



Coming Events. 27 

was rather an art than a science, ere chemistry 
had exhausted its resouces to provide a new 
bloouij and invention had outstrip^Ded imagin- 
ation in order to confer beauties previously 
undreamed of, the indiscriminate use of so 
plebeian a fluid as water could not fail to be 
attended with accidents, not to say danger. 

The rule was then, as now, to improve 
nature as much as possible, but the process by 
which all this was accomplished seems to our 
modern ideas clumsy and tedious. 

It is almost a pity that some of the great- 
grandmothers of our present sirens who like- 
wise, and at great trouble and expense, tired 
their heads and darkened their eyes and beau- 
tified their complexions, cannot come to life 
again and behold all the pretty inventions by 
which much more effective and deceptive re- 
sults are now attained. 

As the steam-engine is to horse-power so 
are the devices of women now to those em- 
ployed by their progenitors in the old days 
departed. The worst of it is that beauty, by 
reason of its universality, will soon be at a 



The EarPs P. 



rojiiise. 



discount. Time was when, unless a lady were 
young and fair by the grace of God, she had 
to be rich and idle before she could counter- 
feit His gifts. !N'ow loveliness can be had on 
the most reasonable terms; a complexion is 
cheaper than a chignon, and large eyes with 
the iris distended at high noon can be matched 
with real hair a dozen shades lighter than it 
appeared a week previously, for the expendi- 
ture of a few pence. 

Things were not so when Lady Glendare 
came to Eayview, *'for the benefit of the salt 
water," so ran the simple phi-ase in that pri- 
mitive age. 

People ^'took salt water" externally then 
as they might have taken a solution of sul- 
phuretted hydrogen internally. Some strong- 
minded old persons and some light-minded 
young ones really liked the operation; but 
taking society round, it shivered on the brink 
and went in for its " three dips and out 
again," actuated either by a strong feeling of 
duty or a stronger dread of being laughed at. 
In a word, the sea was a medicine, and re- 
garded as such. 



Coining Events, 29 



Lady Glendare considered it a medicine she 
personally did not require, but she took it to 
benefit her lord and spite her sister-in-law. 
Many a wry face she made over the dose to 
Grace ; and Grace, when she beheld her lady- 
ship tripping down the ladder, pitied her, as 
she might a poor wretch going up one on a 
different errand. 

Xot but that sea-bathing at Bayview was, 
as far as it could be made so, an eminently 
comfortable affair. Grace was one of those 
fanatics who dipped in season and out, for 
whom rough weather had no terrors, winter 
rather charms than otherwise, and her box was 
therefore the perfection of a dressing-room by 
the sea. 

The usual mode of procedure at Kingslough, 
which indeed I have seen adopted in more 
northern latitudes within the last few years, 
and considered charmingly primitive and easy, 
if slightly uncomfortable by reason of wind 
and sand, was to undress on the shore, fling- 
ing on a green or blue baize gown to conceal 
the operation. Those who were so fortunate 



30 The EarVs Promise. 

as to own ^^back entrances," disrobed them- 
selves witbin four walls and slipped quietly 
into tbe water, as, indeed, did others whose 
houses faced the shore, and who, watching 
their opportunity, rushed across the road en- 
veloped in cloaks, which they flung off at the 
.water's edge, and then went out to sea as 
calmly as though they had been fishes bred 
and born. 

Perhaps Lady Glendare was right, perhaps 
the whole system might be accounted bar- 
barous ; but it is open to question whether the 
bathing-machine regime, which jolts a poor 
shivering wretch over stones and shingles,, 
only to land her finally in six inches of watef, 
imagined sufficient to conceal her and her 
meagre serge dress from profane eyes, is su- 
perior in any way. 

However, there were no bathing-machines 
at Kingslough then (it is possible Kingslough 
may have adopted them now), and failing such 
and such like devices, the Countess of Glen- 
dare was fain to put up with the accommoda- 
tion afforded by Miss Moffat's box. 



Coming Events, 31 



For many reasons Miss Moffat took her 
pleasure in the deep at other hours than those 
affected by the countess. Eight glad would 
her ladyship have been of her company in the 
the water ; but Grace judged, and judged 
rightly, that on those mysteries of the toilette 
which were enacted with closed doors and in 
splemn silence, the scrutiny of youthful eyes 
was not desired. 

Any change in the arrangement of her lady- 
ship's hair was hidden, as she stej^ped out of 
the box, by that most hideous of all head- 
gear, an oil-silk bathing-cap ; and if, in the 
momentary glance which was all that even by 
accident Grace caught of her guest's face as, 
followed by her maid, she went to perform her 
penance, it looked older and whiter than had 
been the case an hour previously, still that 
proved nothing. 

Her ladyship had been a beauty, and was 
beautiful even yet. If she chose to put back 
the years and look younger than chanced to be 
actually the case, that was entirely her affair, 
and Grace had sense enough to know the 



32 The Eaid'^s Promise. 

countess felt no desire to reveal the secret 
means whereby such wonderful results were 
obtained. 

As regarded the maid, she consented to 
bathe, as she would have consented to any- 
tliing else which was duly considered in her 
wages. 

After all, going into the sea could not by 
any stretch of the imagination be considered a 
greater hardship than coming to Ireland. 

Ireland was an extra, and so was bathing, 
or, to speak more correctly, following Lady 
Glendare into the water and assisting her to 
bathe. Mrs. Somerford wondered how her 
sister-in-law could think of making such an 
exhibition of herself ; but the exhibition was 
rapidly restoring the earl's popularity. Her 
ladyship's condescension — so the fact of her 
going into the sea at all was styled — had given 
a greater fillip to Kingslough than could have 
been supposed likely. The Ardmornes had 
tried being popular, but Lady Glendare beat 
them at their own game, and the finishing 
stroke of being within an ace of drowning 



Comings Events. 'ij'h 



%b 



settled, as Grace propliesiecl it would, the fate 
of the Tory candidate. 

Certainly, could Kingslough have chosen, it 
would not haye selected Mr. Brady for her 
ladyship's rescuer. 

It grudged such a piece of good fortune to a 
man of his standing and antecedents ; but 
still, had he not chanced to be at hand when 
the countess got out of her depth, and her 
maid lost whatever presence of mind she ever 
possessed, and stood shrieking helplessly, 
while Grace ran the risk of being carried out 
to sea likewise in her mad endeavour to render 
assistance, — had Mr. Brady, I say, not been 
near enough to render efficient help then, 
Kingslough would have lost both Miss Moffat 
and the stranger within her gates. And 
Kingslough was not ungrateful; more espe- 
cially as the earl, moved no doubt by hints 
from his agent, and very plain speaking on 
the part of Mr. Eobert Somerford, confined 
his thanks, so far as anybody knew, to an 
early visit. 

Nettie and her husband were not taken into 

VOL. II. D 



34 TJie EarVs Promise, 

high favour at Eosemont. They were, it is 
true, like everybody else, asked to the elec- 
tion ball, but Mr. and Mrs. Brady had sense 
enough to stay away. 

The world did not know that a grateful 
husband had asked in which direction Mr. 
Brady's wishes lay, so that he might advance 
them, and that Lady Glendare had told ISTettie 
she could answer for herself and her children 
that they would never, never forget the obli- 
gation under which Mr. Brady had laid them. 

There were a great many things Mr. Brady 
wanted which it was in Lord Glendare' s 
power to give ; but although he knew enough 
of society to be aware a nobleman's memory 
for benefits conferred is about as ^hort as that 
of other peojDle, he contented himself, for the 
time being, with having ^' got his foot in." 

It might be or it might not be that here- 
after the earl would have the opportunity of 
serving him disinterestedly, but he was well 
aware that once he was in a position to avail 
himself of his opportunities, he could make it 
serve Lord Glendare' s purpose to advance his 
views. 



Coming Events, -^^^ 

Tlie world was before him — and it was an 
advantage that his world now included an ac- 
quaintance with the owner of Eosemont, and 
something which amounted almost to the 
right of speaking or writing to him without 
the intervention of any one, whether agent or 
lawyer. 

Mr. Brady hated lawyers, which was all the 
more natural since law}^ers, even his own, 
hated him. 

Looking aroimd, this man saw that nearly 
every rising fortune, and almost every fortune 
that was secure in Kingslough, owed its foun- 
dation to some stone rent from the ruins of 
the Glendare prosperity. Any one whose pro- 
perty was unencumbered — any one who was 
getting on in the world, any one whose 
father and grandfather having been nobodies 
was consequently educating his children to 
become somebodies, owed the whole of their 
advancement to the need or the improvidence 
of the Glendares. 

Any man clever enough to obtain their ear, 
and patient enough to wait his opportunity, 



36 The EarPs Promise, 

any one unscrupulous as to making terms, 
and wise enough to have those terms made 
binding, could get an advantage over the 
Somerfords, could clear his OTvn way to 
wealth, while lending a hand to help them 
along the road to ruin. 

I^ot that they needed any help ; they found 
the road easy to travel, if occasionally not 
over pleasant. 

To use a phrase which has become common 
of late in connexion with business failures, 
^^ They were bound to go ;" and to pursue the 
same simile, all that wise men thought of in 
relation to them was how to get as much 
money, or money value, as possible out of 
them before the crash came. 

Unsophisticated people, who had always 
been hearing of the embarrassments of each 
successive earl, thought there must be a won- 
derful vitality about the Somerfords' affairs, 
and concluded rashly, that what had been 
apparently from the beginning must go on to 
the end ; but these were persons who forgot, 
on the one hand, the first enormous extent of 



Coming Events, 37 



the property, and, on the other, the fact that a 
man rolling down hill gains a frantic speed 
as he nears the bottom. 

'^I do not know why I should grudge 
Glendare this triumph," said Lord Ardmorne, 
looking askance at grapes which he would 
fain have made believe to think sour; ^' he 
will never see his nominee sent to Parliament 
again." 

And the marquis was right. When the 
next election took place Mr. Eobert Somerford, 
who contested the seat himself, was beaten, 
not ignominiously, perhaps, but sufficiently. 

From which remark of his fellow-peer, it 
will be understood that the earl had the hap- 
piness of seeing a "Whig returned for the 
family seat. The fight was fierce, the contest 
close, the expense great, but the Glendare 
interest won. 

How far my lady contributed to this result 
can only be surmised ; how far sympathy 
carried the voters is also problematical. One 
thing only is certain, that when the general 
public learned how Lady Glendare, herself 



38 TJie EarPs Promise. 

still ailing, started at a few hours' notice to 
see her youngest born, reported dangerously 
ill, and heard Lord Glendare making his 
lament about Arthur, whom he loved best of 
all his children, and called, to those who 
evinced sorrow (and few there were that failed 
to do so), the ^'flower of the flock;" and 
when further news came that on the very eve 
of the election the earl was summoned away, 
told to travel with all speed ^^ if he wished to 
see his boy alive," the hearts of the people 
forgot Th' Airl's faults, and remembered only 
Th' AirPs grief. 

Men who had ^^ promised," men who had 
half consented, men who were undecided, 
forgot their promises, their semi-agreement, 
their doubts, and voted to please the earl. 

And the result did please him. Though 
his son lay dead when the news came, he felt 
gratified, and, for the moment it might be, so 
far as such a sensation could exist in a Glen- 
dare, grateful. 

After all, they were not a bad race, a de- 
generate peasantry, those Irishmen, who de- 



Coming Events. 39 



spite Lord Ardmorne's money remained true 
to the Somerfords and the traditions of their 
fathers. 

They ^ere a staunch tenantry and an honest, 
who forgot not former benefits — so he men- 
tally styled the renewals of leases, the granting 
of liberty to pay rent — those stiu'dy inde- 
pendent men who spoke to him as though he 
had been one of themselves, and yet who 
honoured him and his house, who toiled early 
and late to make up the amount required on 
^'gale'' days, expressive phrase! and who 
asked for nothing better than to live and die 
hard-working paupers on the ground their 
" forbears " had, personally paupers lilrewise, 
cultivated for the benefit of a reckless, faith- 
less, ingrate, doomed race. 

Doomed ! yes, and justly. They had cum- 
bered the ground for a sufficient period, aud 
the inexorable fiat, ^' Cut them down I " had 
gone forth. 

Their reign was coming to an end — the 
reign of the good-natured, handsome, wicked 
Glcndares. They had sprung from the loins 



40 The EarPs Promise. 

of some dare-devil English trooper, and they 
had not belied their ancestry. It was time 
for them to depart and give place to another 
house willing to return to the soil a portion at 
all events of what it took out of the soil. 

But the Glendares, one and all, men and 
women, were as those in the days of l^oe. 

They ate, they drank, they married, they 
were given in marriage, and still the waters 
were creeping up about them, round and 
about, and when they were engulfed no soul 
pitied them. 

It was coming, it was coming; wise were 
they who could read the signs of the sky, and 
foretell the impending tempest, wise in theii* 
generation, as are usually the children of this 
world. 

Amongst the wise men were Mr. Dillwyn 
and Nettie's husband. Of the doings of the 
former there will be something to state here- 
after. He took steps at which all the world 
wondered, but which at the same time all men 
could see and comment upon. 

Mr. Brady, on the contrary, worked like a 



Coming Events, 41 

mole underground, throwing up here a mound 
and there another, that might have conveyed 
a hint to observant eyes. 

But the eyes were wanting. Society at 
Kingslough was not clever at addition. Scan- 
dal, being presumably feminine, is generally 
deficient in its ability to solve abstruse arith- 
metical problems. 

Kingslough, therefore, with whom ]\Ir. 
Brady did not intermeddle, put Mr. Brady on 
one side and left him at leisure to work out 
his plans. 

What those plans were, even ^NTettie, with 
all her quick perception and intuitive know- 
ledge of other folks' designs, failed fully to 
understand. She comprehended that her hus- 
band, like the rest of his countrymen, had a 
passion for the possession of land, a passion 
not second even to his love of money ; but her 
imagination never grasped the fact that already 
he had formed a scheme to get the "Woodbrook 
mortgage into his own hands, and the thing 
he most fervently hoped for was that he might 
be able to achieve his purpose before the 
General died. 



4^ The EarPs Proviisc. 

The idea had entered his mind, more in the 
form of a vague wish than a practicable 
scheme, on that day when John Eiley and his 
father refused his proffered hand ; but he had 
since brooded over the plan, moulded it into 
shape, and resolved to carry it into effect. 

He knew he could ruin the Eileys. It be- 
came in his mind a mere question of time, for 
now that Miss Moffat had refused to cast in 
her lot with the family, not even a hope re- 
mained of ultimate extrication. The more 
rapidly the world went on — and the world had 
begun in those days to show signs of quicker 
movement — the more certainly were the 
Eileys doomed to destruction ; but he felt 
that his revenge would lose half its sweetness 
if he failed to carry out his design in the 
General's lifetime. 

Already his fancy portrayed the old man 
leaving the house and lands he had struggled 
so gallantly and so unavailingly to retain. 
Already he pictured the daughters gover- 
nesses, the father and mother living poorly in 
some cheap house in Xingslough, the son's 



Coming Events. 43 



exertions being taxed to provide for the neces- 
sities of his family. 

Such, reverses had been over and over 
again, such a reverse should be enacted once 
more. 

^•Had the Eileys," he said to himself, but 
said falsely, though perhajDS unconscious of his 
self-deceit, ^^had the Eileys recognized Nettie 
and received me, I would have forgiven them 
their insolence, and helped them to build up 
their fortunes once again." 

So he said, so possibly he thought ; but the 
experience of all time tending to prove that a 
known enemy is better than a false friend, the 
Eileys, in the impulse of their indignation at 
Nettie's choice, acted probably as well for 
themselves as they would have done had they 
gone into a series of worldly calculations and 
ordered their conduct accordingly. 

Mr. Brady might be a rising man in a pe- 
cuniary sense, people soon began to say ho 
was, but the Eileys were of one rank and sort 
and he of another, and there can be no greater 
folly than for one in a higher station to sup- 



44 ^/^^ Eaj^Ps Promise. 

pose that a person who is trying to creep np 
to the same station will serve him faithfully 
either for love or interest. 

So after John's departure there was a dead 
break between Woodbrook and Maryville, 
and if Nettie had found her life in Xings- 
lough monotonouSj she probably found it — 
except so far as her husband's tempers diver- 
sified the routine — more monotonous still in 
her new home. 

But how she fared in that new home, 
whether well or the reverse, no one could tell. 
Few ever saw her, to none did she give her 
confidence. 

Even the Castle Farm beheld her no more. 
In the early days of her marriage she wan- 
dered over there two or three times, in the 
vague hope, perhaps, of meeting Grace; but 
]\Ir. Brady, hearing of these visits, exjDressed 
his disapproval, and ^Nettie silently obeyed 
his wishes in that as in all other matters. 

Perhaps, indeed, after a few sentences she 
and her husband exchanged one day, she felt 
little inclination to listen to Mrs. Scott's hope- 



Coming Events, 45 



fill talk about the future, her cheerful gossip 
concerning their plans and expectations. 

'^I wonder," said Mr. Brady to his wife, 
"why Scott is drawing all those stones? It 
looks as if he meant to build." 

"So he does," !N"ettie answered; "he is 
going to build a new byre and stable and loft 



over." 



''He must be mad," remarked Mr. Brady, 
" to lay out money at the tail-end of his 
lease." 

" The earl has promised him a new one, did 
not you know that ? " 

" I heard something about it," said her hus- 
band, "but it is all nonsense. The earl has 
no power to give him a new lease." 

" Why ? " Nettie inquired. 

"I wonder if one could talk for three 
minutes to any woman without her asking 
'Why?'" said Mr. Brady impatientlj'. "It 
Avould take me a day to explain the why and 
the wherefore to you. lie can't, and there's 
an end of it." 

Having returned which courteous answer, 



46 The EarPs Promise, 

Mr. Brady walked out of the room with, his 
hands deep in his pockets. 

[N'ow the lands of the Castle Farm ^'marched,'' 
to use a local expression, with those of Mary- 
yille. 



47 



CHAPTER III. 



SEVEN YEARS AFTER, 



High noon once again at Kingslough ; high 
noon, with a leaden sky, a di'izzling rain 
falling, the streets ankle deep in mud, the 
side paths sloppy and dirty. 

Altogether a miserable noon — the sea out 
a long way, as was its wont to go at Kings- 
lough when low tide-time came ; an expanse 
of grey, sad-looking shore; the water still 
and sullen; the hills the only bit of colour 
in the landscape, for the foliage of the fir- 
trees in the distant woods looked almost black 
by contrast with the leafless branches amongst 
which they reared their heads. 



48 The EarVs Promise. 

1^0 sunlight dancing on the waves ; no 
shifting shadows succeeded by bright patches 
of brightness coming and going upon the 
uplands; no mellow baze softening the dis- 
tance; no purple bloom softening the scene 
into a dream of fairyland. At the foot of 
its hills, Kingslough lay crouching and 
shivering its houses together ; houses in 
which every blind in the lower windows 
was drawn close, or the shutters closed, in 
token of — ^respect, the people would have 
said. 

Let the word go for what it was worth. 
It could not now matter to Lord Glendare— in 
evidence of whose death the weather itself 
seemed to have put on mourning— whether 
the men he had ground down into the earth 
loved or hated, respected or despised, his 
memory. 

He was gone — by the road winding inland, 
along the Glendare Parade — closely-shut 
houses on one side, and the dark, bare shore, 
with the leaden-coloured sea reflecting a 
leaden sky, on the other — up the steep hill- 



Seve?i Years After. 49 

side they were about to bear the mortal 
remains of the earl to their last earthly home. 

Nearly seven years had passed since his 
previous visit to Ireland, and during that time 
progress set a weak, uncertain foot, even in 
Kingslough. 

Men had arisen who, from first whisper- 
ing doubts of the Glendare infallibility, gra- 
dually grew bolder, and at length openly 
proclaimed the new doctrine, that property 
has its duties, and that the human being, be 
he of gentle birth or of simple, to whom many 
talents have been given, must account some 
day for the use made of those talents, if not 
at any human tribunal, before the throne of 
God. 

To those who had been accustomed to re- 
gard themselves as relieved from all respon- 
sibility by the act of God Himself; who 
believed in the divine right of landlords to 
do what they liked with their own ; who had 
never regarded the people save as so much 
raw material, out of which rent and renewal 
fines were to be extracted — easily and kindly 

VOL II. E 



50 The EarPs Promise. 

if possible — with difficulty and harshness 
should necessity arise ; to those, in a word, 
who, like the Glendares, had been living on the 
edge of a social precipice, the increasing mnr- 
murs of discontent fell on their ears as a sound 
of impossible, yet uncomfortable, prophecy. 

They had been Glendares since the time 
of that careless, selfish English trooper ; they 
had been great people ; they had lived on the 
fat of the land ; they had ruffled it with the 
best; the fairest women had smiled upon 
them; men of rank equal to their own, of 
better birth, of stricter principles, had con- 
doned the faults and sins of their false, bad 
race, for the sake of the charms of person and 
the grace of manner which distinguished all 
of the name ; and could it be — could it that 
an end was to come to the pleasant vices 
paid for by the sweat of toiling peasants, the 
prematurely old faces of anxious wives, the 
feeble though willing work of little children, 
who were turned out of their cradles into the 
fields to help to make up the rent ? 

Had noon come and gone, and were the 



Seven Years Aftc7\ 51 

evening shadows already darkening the fair 
landscape? "Was the day in which their 
fellows greeted them with smiles, and paid 
them hononr, drawing to an end, and a night. 
dark and starless, closing in aronnd a House 
which had ruled despotically for so long and 
so ill. 

As is usual, the signs of the times were 
first made apparent in increased difficulties of 
obtaining money or credit. So to speak, the 
murmurs of dissatisfaction grew into words, 
which could be distinguished by the ears of 
the earl, if by no other members of the 
family. 

iN'ever had a Glendare been so deeply in- 
volved in debt as he ; never had a Glendare 
been so short of that which should enable 
him to clear his debts, even temporarily. 
One generation had gone on pushing its 
burdens on the next. Long leases, sometimes 
for nine hundred and ninety-nine years, had 
been granted by successive proprietors at 
disastrously small rents, for the sake of a 
^' lump sum down," which sum vanished like 



e2 



LIBRARY 

^r.oi-nf ftC IIMNOIS 



52 The EarPs Promise. 

'^ snow off a dyke." Lands had been sold, 
rights conceded. Almost everything avail- 
able with which the Glendares could part 
had been leased or sold or mortgaged. 

Fortunes were being made out of streams, 
moors, building-sites, houses, and farms the 
Glendares had parted with, under the pres- 
sure of importunate creditors, for an old song. 

'No young sprig of nobility ever made 
worse bargains with professed money-lenders 
than successive earls with men who were wise 
enough to take advantage of the Somerford 
necessities. Agent after agent had fattened 
on the spoil ; some of them, catching the infec- 
tion of their betters, spent their money reck- 
lessly, and came again, or their families after 
them, to indigence. Some went to England 
and did well there; others, again, bought 
properties in distant parts of Ireland, and 
set up in the land-owning business for them- 
selves ; all, at any rate — however they spent 
their money — had a pull out of the Glendare 
purse, as the state of the Glendare purse could 
testify. 



Seven Years After, 53 

The mismanagement, the profuse expendi- 
tui-e, the eating the calf before birth, the de- 
predations of outsiders, had continued for a 
long time, but it was impossible the game 
could be carried on for ever. 

The end was coming ; the murmurs of a 
once voiceless people, rising at length into a 
hoarse low cry of discontent, reached even to 
London, and, together with the remonstrances 
of lawyers and agents and the demands and 
entreaties of duns, told the earl that, unless 
he and his reformed their ways, reduced their 
outgoings and came down a little from their 
high estate, they would have to sink alto- 
gether and drop a title and a rank they had 
no longer wealth to m^aintain. 

*^ It is hard upon me in my old age," said 
the earl to himself with that self-pity which 
would be ludicrous were it not almost pathetic, 
which those who have never showed pity to 
others always extend to themselves — *^ old, 
broken, weighed down by trouble, with one 
foot in the grave" — but here the soliloquy 
ended. The ideas it expressed seemed too 



54 The EarPs Promise. 

true to form pleasant food even for self-pity. 
The years ^'few and evil " were drawing to 
a close, and the prospect of having both feet 
laid in the grave was as little agreeable to 
his lordship as it proves to most of those who 
have loved this world, its sins, its pomps, and 
its pleasures passing well. 

^' It all began when Arthur went," he said 
one day to Lady Glendare ; and certainly, since 
the death of his favourite son, trouble and the 
earl had not walked on different sides of life's 
highway. Petty annoyances, grave anxieties, 
family trials, succeeded each other as though 
all were part of a giant army gathered to an- 
nihilate an enemy. 

Save Henry— the heir — he was childless, 
and one of his sons had before his departui-e, 
dragged even the Glendare name through 
such disreputable places that the world could 
scarcely put on a show of decent sympathy 
with his parents when his career was cut 
short. 

Hemy the earl did not love — or loved, to 
speak more correctly, after the fashion in 



Seven Years After. ^^ 



wliicli men usually love tliose who are born 
to wear their shoes after them — and Henry 
had not much affection to spare for his father, 

Nevertheless, he had been ready enough to 
join him in granting leases, and cutting off 
part of the entail, until he discovered that far 
more than the lion's portion of the spoil was 
finding its way into the earl's pocket. 

Some one enlightened that over- wise young 
man on this point; my lady declared the 
some one was Eobert Somerford, whom she now 
hated with that impotent hatred only a weak 
vain woman can entertain towards a man who, 
through the deaths of her children, stands 
a few feet nearer rank and wealth ; and the 
result was, that the next time the earl asked 
his son to join him in some fresh work of 
destruction, his son flatly refused to do any- 
thing of the kind. 

'' There has been enough of this suicidal 
policy in the family already," said the young 
man with an au' of withering superiority, 
'' and I for one will be no party to its con- 
tinuance." 



56 TJie EarVs Promise. 

'' But, Henry, you are as much in want of 
money as I am, and I only ask you to do 
for and with me what I did for my father,'^ 
urged the earl. 

^^ What you may have chosen to do for 
your father is beside the question," was the 
reply. ^' I have quite made up my mind as 
to the course I intend to take. It is true I 
am in want of money, but, on the whole, I 
find the Jews cheaper than your lordship " — 

Whereupon his lordship ordered him to 
leave the house, and there being reasons why 
London was at that time not so agreeable a 
residence as it might have have been to the 
future earl, he went to visit his relatives at 
Eosemont — 

Who now consisted, by marriage and other- 
wise, of Mr. Eobert Somerford, Mrs. Somer- 
ford translated into Mrs. Dillwyn, and her 
husband, Mr. Dillwyn. 

The news of the proposed matrimonial 
alliance had electrified Kingslough six 
years previously. That Mr. Dillwyn should 
propose ! that Mrs. Somerford should con- 



Seve7i Years After. 57 

sent ! — so the sentences of wonderment ran, 
while gossips lifted their hands — whilst ladies 
eligible as to s^^insterhood, though not equally 
so as to age, wondered what the agent could 
be thinking about to marry a woman older 
than himself, and she a widow — whilst men 
shook their heads and said, '' Dillwyn was 
not born yesterday." 

"What will the earl do imder the circum- 
stances?" people inquired — meaning, Would 
the earl dismiss his agent, or receive him into 
the bosom of the Glendare family ? would he 
give the bride-elect notice to leave Eosemont, 
or would he ask her and the bridegroom to 
spend part of the honeymoon in London ? 

Popular opinion inclined to the belief that 
Mr. Dillwyn would have to leave his situation 
and deliver up his papers, and had Lady 
Glendare's wishes been followed, a line hard 
and fast had then been drawn between the 
earl and the occupants of Eosemont ; but 
her wishes were not followed, and not only 
was Mrs. Somerford allowed to remain at 
Eosemont, but Mr. Dillwyn was permitted 
to take up his abode there with her. 



5 8 The EarPs Promise, 

He offered to pay a rent for the mansion 
and grounds, and, to his secret satisfaction, 
Lord Glendare accepted his offer. When 
Henry Lord Trevor came of age, almost one 
of his first acts was, with his father, to 
grant a long lease of Eosemont to the agent. 

^^ But remember, Dillwyn, Eosemont is still 
to be our home when we come to Ireland," 
said the earl ; and Mr. Dillwyn agreed, nothing 
loth. 

He had counted the cost of his plan before 
carrying it into practice, and the cost induded 
maintaining his noble relatives on the few 
occasions they might choose to honour Ireland 
with their company. 

As for Mr. Eobert Somerford, he did not 
like Mr. Dillwyn, but he did not disl:U£a the 
match. It gave him a much more comfortable 
home than had hitherto fallen to hia lot^, 
money in his purse, power to travel, and, to a 
certain extent, maintain his proper position 
in the world. 

There were pecuniary ease and comparative 
afEuence amongst the trio who lived there. 



SCVC71 Years A/fer. 59 



Mr. Dillwyn was well to do, and carefully 
trying to be better, but he acted towards his 
stepson with a liberality which at last elicited 
some astonished, if not grateful, remark from 
the younger man. 

'^ It is not right you should be mewed up 
in a remote country house through the best 
years of your life," answered Mr. Dillwyn; 
'^you ought to see the world, and become 
fitted for a position beyond that of a mere 
dependant. It is on the cards you may one 
day be Earl of Glendare yourself." 

With an amazement too swift and genuine 
to be assumed, Mr. Somerford, looking eagerly 
in the agent's face, asked him what he meant. 

^^Precisely what I say," answered Mr. 
Dillwyn. '^ Count your chances, and see 
what stands between you and the title." 

There was a pause; then Mr. Somerford, 
having presumably counted the chances and 
found them in his favour, said, — 

" You calculated on this when you married 
my mother." 

^'I did, Mr. Somerford," was the reply, as 



6o The EarPs Promise, 

calmly uttered as though there had been no 
sting contained in the sentence, no scorn in 
the tone. ^' A man must marry for something 
— love, money, interest. Your mother mar- 
ried me because she was sick of existing on 
her wretched pittance of a jointure, because 
she believed I might assist you. I married 
her because I had reasons to believe you 
might one day be able to serine me ; because I 
knew the match must strengthen my position 
with the earl. There was no question of love 
in the matter, no pretence of anything beyond 
respect ;" and Mr. Dillwyn stopped, thinking 
evidently his stepson ought to be perfectly 
satisfied with the explanation vouchsafed. 

Eut Mr. Somerford's vanity had received a 
blow which a much longer and more plausible 
explanation might have failed to soothe. 

He had thought, honestly and sincerely, 
that the honour of an alliance with a member 
of his family was more than an equivalent for 
Mr. Dillwyn's good looks, comparative youth, 
unquestionable ability, and wealth acquired — 
no one exactly understood how; and now to 



Seven Years After. 6i 

be told that, instead of an open, the man had 
been playing an underhand, game — with him- 
self as probable ace of trumps hidden up his 
sleeve all the time — was more than he could 
endure. 

'^ So that was your motive ? " he began 
quietly, drawing in his breath at the end of 
his sentence, as the wind lulls for a moment 
before the storm breaks forth in its fury. 

With all their amiability the Somerfords 
had tempers, and knew on occasions how to 
exhibit them ; and the years spent in associa- 
tion with the family had not been passed by 
Mr. Dillwyn altogether in vain. 

"Well, at any rate, he understood what the 
lowering of Mr. Eobert's voice and the com- 
pression of his lips portended, and so hastened 
to avert the threatened hurricane. 

^' I have shown you my hand," he began. 
^^ Do not let us quarrel about the honours I 
hold till we are quite sure they will win. 
Do not speak that which is in your mind unless 
you are satisfied it will be to your interest to 
quaiTel with me. I tell you it is your interest 



62 The EarPs Pn 



'OVllSC. 



to keep me as your friend. If the Glendare 
estates, or any part of them, are to be saved, 
which is problematical, I am the only person 
who can tell you how to save them. If with- 
out the estates you are ever to keep your head 
above water, I am the only person able to show 
you the way." 

^^I ought to be the last person to question 
your ability to compass anything on which 
you set your mind," said Mr. Somerford, "but 
I do not feel at all disposed to allow you to 
exercise your talents in the management of 
my affairs." 

"When you have affairs to manage, it will 
be time enough to discuss that question," 
retorted the agent. "Meanwhile, if I did 
make a throw for fortune and position, remem- 
ber what I staked upon it. I burdened my- 
self — ^I use the word advisedly, Hobert — with 
a young man ut'terly destitute, with a lady 
worthy of all esteem, but no longer even in 
the prime of middle life, while between you 
and the possibility of the title stood how 
many? The Glendares, I believe, always 



Seven Years After. 63 

expect people to give them something for 
nothing; to waste their health, strength, 
money, in the unselfish desire to give them 
pleasure ; but if you have taken up any false 
ideas of that kind with regard to me, disabuse 
your mind of it as fast as you can. It is of no 
use scowling. I will work with you or 
against you ; only say whether we are to be 
friends or foes, and I will order my course 
accordingly. 

^^ You are wondrous plain, sir, all of a sud- 
den," said Mr. Somerford with a sneer. 

^^I am wondrous true, considering the na- 
ture of the man to whom I am speaking," re- 
plied Mr. Dillwyn. 

*' There is no necessity for you to farour 
me with an analysis of my character," re- 
turned the' younger man; "I think we under- 
stand each other without going into particulars. 
It seems we must row together, or swim 
separate. Is not that the English of the con- 
fidence you have forced upon me ? Yes ; well, 
that being the case, and having no taste for 
salt water, I agree to let bygones be bygones, 
and take my chance with you." 



64 TJie EarPs Proinise. 



'^ Meaning that we are to be friends ? " 

^^ If you attach any importance to the ex- 
pression, yes." 

^^ Will you give me your hand upon it ? " 

"Having given my word, I should have 
imagined the other form unnecessary ; but as 

you wish " and he held out his hand, 

which Mr. Dillwyn clasped hard for a moment. 

Then he loosed it, saying, " That is a 
bargain." 

''Agreed," answered Mr. Somerford care- 
lessly ; and he went off, humming an opera 
air. 

"I would not give much for my hopes if 
you were once king," muttered the agent, as 
he watched his retreating figure. '' Drivelling 
idiots all — cruel, selfish, vain, inconsequent 
fools — earl, heir, nephew. What could his 
mother have been thinking of when she 
brought such a short-sighted simpleton into a 
world abeady overweighted with simpletons ? 
Well, forewarned forearmed, and when it 
comes to a stand-up fight between us we shall 
see which man has best made ready for battle. 



Seveii Years After. 6^ 

He has gone to Bay view I suppose. Ah, 
Grace ! you had better have taken me. Even 
if he comes to be earl, you will find a coronet 
cannot compensate for the want of both head 
and heart." 

Whereby hung a tale — one never enlarged 
upon by Grace Mofi'at. After she refused 
her first lover, she never took man, woman, 
or child into her full confidence about those 
who came after. 

It was to this united household Henry Lord 
Trevor, after the unpleasantness with his 
father, came. Sympathy in abundance he re- 
ceived from all the inmates of Eosemont, to 
say nothing of that which he valued far more 
than sympathy — a considerable pecuniary ad- 
vance from Mr. Dillwyn, who, playing in those 
days for high stakes, could ^not afford to be 
over-cautious in his game. 

On the whole, the heir-apparent did not 
dislike Ireland ; the almost fulsome affection 
displayed by the tenantry, who, growing 
weary of the old regime.^ trusted that the 
*^ young lord, bless him ! '' Avould reduce their 

VOL. II. F 



66 The EarPs Promise. 



rents, and find money for improvements, was 
not unpleasant to one of a family to whom 
popularity wais as the sunshine and the breeze 
to mankind in general. 

He would not have been a Glendare had he 
not promised liberally, and thus he charmed 
the people and they pleased him. A better 
shot than his cousin — a more indefatigable 
sportsman — he traversed the moors and waUvcd 
over the hills in search of game. All in vain, 
knowing what he knew, Mr. Dillwyn tried to 
keep him within bounds (\h.^ life of this young 
man had suddenly become precious in his 
eyes) ; he would not be staid ; and so, with 
the seeds of a fatal disease lying in his frame, 
he exposed himself to rain and storm, and 
trudged miles through mists that were as the 
A^ery breath of death to a constitution such as 
his. 

By Mr. Dillwyn's advice the breach with 
Lord Glendare was closed. At his dictation 
the heir wrote a letter of apology for the ex- 
pressions of wdiich he had made use. After 
stating hoAv deeply he regretted liaving per- 



Sevcji Years After, 67 



mitted temper to overcome his filial respect, lie 
proceeclecl to say that, whilst his views con- 
cerning the general impolicy of gi'anting long 
leases at nominal rents for the sake of raising 
amounts utterly nonequivalent to the benefits 
conferred, remained unaltered, still, if any 
plan were thought of by which his ftither's 
difficulties could be permanently lessened, he 
would do all in his power to assist in carrying 
it into effect. ^^ For myself," he went on, /^ I 
have already experienced so much of the ill 
effects of running into debt, that I feel as 
though I could make any sacrifice to set our 
affairs straight. I should not object even to 
take up my residence permanently in Ireland 
— (he had been a week in the country, and 
game was plentiful) — ^if it were thought de- 
sirable for me to do so. Dillwyn believes a 
considerable amount might be raised by grant- 
ing leases for a certain term to tliose of the 
tenants who hold their land on lives. There 
has been such a mortality amongst the mem- 
bers of our family lately, that a feeling of un- 
easiness is abroad, and it seems probable that 



68 The EarPs Promise. 



even those persons to whom fresh leases of 
this description have been granted since I 
came of age would willingly pay a further 
sum to have their tenancy placed upon a more 
secure footing. I may mention one case in 
illustration of this. Since I arrived here, Mr. 
Brady, to whom you may recollect we granted 
a lease of the Castle Farm, Scott's tenancy of 
which expires at the death of Lady Jane 
Somerford, has called to say he is prepared to 
pay any amount Dillwyn may consider fair, if 
we will change the lease from three lives to 
ninety-nine years. Evidently he does not 
think our space of existence likely to extend 
to the same term as that of her ladyship." 

The last sentence was not, it is unnecessary 
to say, prompted by Mr. Dillwyn. He was 
not given to sentimentality ; nevertheless a 
grave pity darkened his eyes as the young man 
laughingly read it aloud. 

'' Old ladies have a wonderful knack of liv- 
ing," he went on. ^' ^ow there is that Miss 
. Eiley ; she must have been a hundred, twenty 
years ago." 



Seven Years After. 69 



'^I do not know her age/' 3Ir. Dillwyn 
answered ; ^' but Lady Jane Somerford was 
ninety-six last June. She has had her share 
of the Glendare revenues, no matter who else 
may have gone short." 

''I wonder who invented life-leases," re- 
marked the other thoughtfully. 

'' Some one who liked speculating himself, 
and understood the love for speculation, which 
is an integral part of human nature." 

'' But our tenants' human nature appears 
eminently non-speculative," was the reply. 

'^ As the world grows older, its inhabitants 
get wiser," said Mr. Dillwyn. He could have 
told his auditor that there would be little of a 
speculative character in taking a lease on his 
life, at all events I but the agent's rule had 
always been to try to make things pleasant, 
and he was not going to deviate from it now. 

'^He may live; who knows?" reflected 
Mr. Dillwyn; ^'in a warm climate he might 
last for years ; but, whether he live or die, if 
only the earl agree to my scheme Mr. Eobert 
will find he had better not have tried to play 
a double game with me." 



70 TJic EarPs Promise. 



From whicli remark it will be seen that tlie 
agent's Christianity did not extend so far as 
the forgiveness of injuries inflicted or contem- 
plated. 

As for the earl, he was only too happy to 
accept the olive-branch held ont by his son ; 
and as the course suggested by Mr. Dillwyn 
offered a chance of raising some money, he 
came over to Ireland in person to cany it with 
greater expedition into effect. 

Glad enough was he to leave London and 
its duns behind him for a season, and, crouch- 
ing over the library fire at Eosemont, a bent 
and broken man, he assured Mr. Dillwyn, even 
with tears, that if any arrangement could be 
made which might enable him to end his days 
in peace, he would live anywhere — he would 
do anything — he Avould induce her ladyship 
to do anything for the sake of obtaining peace. 

^' It has been all wrong from beginning to 
end," he declared, with a frankness character- 
istic of those who, having eaten up the whole 
of their cake at once, lament the absence of 
any hoard from which another may be obtained. 



Seve?i Years After, 71 

'' It haslDeen all a iiiistakc. I ought to have 
retrenched years ago ; I ought to have come 
here, or lived abroad. Take warning by me, 
Henry, and remember that an extravagant 
youth means a miserable old age. Life seemed 
very happy once— ah! that was along, long 
time ago. If I could but have the past to 
spend over again, with my i)resent experi- 
ence " 

" You would make just as bad a business 
of your second existence as you have done of 
your &st," thought Mr. Dillwyn, while he 
publicly observed ''that regrets were worse 
than useless ; that what they had now to con- 
sider was, how to surmount present diffi- 
culties." 

'' By the way," he went on, '' speaking of 
difficulties, there seems to be one with Scott 
of the Castle Farm. He says your lordship 
promised him a renewal of his lease, and that 
he has spent a mint of money on the place in 
consequence." 

^' The Castle Farm ! where is it ? what is 
it?" exclaimed the earl pettishly. ''I wish, 



72 The EarPs Promise. 



Dillwyn, you would not pester me about 
matters that lie exclusively in your province. 
I promise the man a lease ? vrliy should I ? 
And, even if I had, he must have been an 
idiot to lay out money until he got it." 

''But he says he gave your lordship money 
for granting it." 

" J^ow, what nonsense all this is ! " cried 
the earl angrily. " I don't know where the 
Castle Farm is. I should not know the man 
Scott if I met him to-morrow. Why should 
he bring money to me instead of paying it to 
you ? What have I ever had to do with the 
tenants, except at election times ? " 

''That is the point," persisted Mr. Dillwyn. 
" He declares he paid you the money when 
you were over at the time of the last election, 
and that, therefore, Mr. Brady's lease is 
invalid." 

^' He must be a fool," observed the earl in a 
tone of sincere conviction. 

" So I told him," was Mr. Dillwyn's reply. 

^'He has no lease, has he?" asked the 
earl. 



Seve?i Years After, 



''None excepting that whicli expires with, 
the life of Lady Jane Somerford." 

" Then what does the fellow mean ? " 

'' That I really cannot say," answered the 
agent. 

''Of course, it is all a trumped-up story." 
said Lord Somerford. 

" Yery possibly," agreed Mr. Dillwyn, and 
the subject dropped. 

IS'ext day, when Amos Scott called at the 
agent's office, that gentleman said to him, — 

"Xow, look here, Scott — you chose to deal 
with the earl direct before, and you must 
settle this matter with him now. I wash my 
hands of it. I don't understand the transac- 
tion, and I don't want to understand it. The 
earl will be up to his ears in business for a 
few days, but go to Eosemont, say the early 
part of next week, and ask to see Lord Trevor. 
I will beg him to get you speech of his 
father." 

"Yer honour's a hard man, but I thought 
you would have seen justice done to mo," said 
Amos bitterly. 



74 The EarP s Promise. 

'^ I cannot do you justice. I tell you I know 
no more of the matter than the babe unborn. 
I will undertake that the earl shall see you ; 
anything more is beyond my power. How- 
ever it may be, you have not much cause of 
complaint; Xady Jane has lived twenty-six 
years longer than the time she ought, and you 
haye had the benefit of her toughness." 

^'No thanks either to you or my lord," 
answered Amos Scott with a grim smile, 

'^ Thanks to Proyidenee, who, it is said 
takes an especial care of fools,'' retorted Mr. 
Dillwyn. ^^Come uj) on Tuesday morning 
about ten o'clock. I will speak to Lord 
Trevor to-night; that is all T can do for you." 

Man proposes, but "he cannot dispose. Amos 
Scott never ^'had speech" of Louis Lord 
Glendare, who, before Tuesday came, was 
lying at Eosemoni: 'ill unto death, dying as 
fast as he knew how. 

Physicians came from Dublin ; my lady was 
summoned in all speed from London : but the 
first said there was ^'no hope," and the 
presence of the latter failed to save. 



Scvcji Years After. 



For nearly a fortniglit my lord lay uucon- 
scioiis of debt, ^Tits, duns, bailiffs — lay for- 
getful of his was-tcd life — of the good he had 
neglected to do — of the evil he had not failed 
to perform. 

For a moment — only for a moment — at tlie 
very last, the light flickered up again. 

His son noticed the change, and leaned 
eagerly forward. 

"Arthur," murmured the dying man, think- 
ing of the dead ; and that was all — he was 
Earl of Glendare no more. His son had suc- 
ceeded to the title. 

Following fast on the heels of the physicians 
came a Dublin undertaker. No expense was 
to be spared about the funeral ; such were the 
new earl's orders. 

For eight whole days, which seemed to tlu^ 
ordinary Irish mind a period almost disreput- 
able, the late earl lay sleeping his last sleep 
in the home of his ancestors — sleeping so 
quietly that he miglit well have dispensed with 
the watchers, who never left his side by day 
or by night. 



The EarPs P. 



roinise. 



At lengtli the ninth day arrived, that on 
which he was to be borne to Ballyknock Abbey, 
when, after the lapse of years, the reader is 
asked once again to enter Kingslough at high 
noon. 

The town is in monrning ; the inhabitants, 
with a hush of expectation on them, are wait- 
ing to behokl the spectacle of the '' Th' Airl" 
being carried to his rest. 



77 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE LAST JOUKNEY. 

Not even at election-time had the streets of 
Kingslough and the roads leading into it been 
so thronged as on the day of Lord Glendare's 
funeral. 

From ten, fifteen, and twenty miles people 
came to see the sight. From far and near 
they flocked into the town. Men, old and 
young; comely women, with babies in their 
arms; elderly women, so wrinkled and aged 
that the memory of their childhood must have 
seemed as a dream to them ; girls straight and 
handsome, with brilliant complexions and, as a 
rule, light luxuriant hair came crowding in 



The EarPs Promise, 



from the east, and north, and west. Some in 
jaunting-cars, some in farm- carts, some on the 
national low-backed car — in which the v;ant of 
springs was frequently counterbalanced by a 
feather-bed covered with a patchwork counter- 
pane being laid on the body of the conveyance 
— most, however, on foot. 

Kot every day does a nobleman go to his 
rest, not every day was it given to Kingslough 
to behold the proud spectacle of a hearse di*awn 
by six horses passing through its streets. 

Simple enough were the funerals the little 
town witnessed as a rule. Quietly and un- 
ostentatiously the dead were laid in their 
graves. Little j)omp and many followers, 
such was the primitive fashion at Kingslough. 
Amongst the poor, neighbour carried ncigli- 
bo^ur to that resting-place he was helpless to 
reach for himself. Amongst the rich, if tlie 
distance to the churchyard were great, a hearse 
was procured from Kilcurragh ; but there the 
black business began and ended. • Friends and 
relations followed in their own conveyances ; 
in broughams, chariots, barouches, phaetons, 



TJic Last Journey. 79 

dog-carts, gigs, cars, with an invariable rear of 
foot-passengers. 

At that period of the world's history a man 
was not allowed to shirk ont of the world nn- 
noticed, as if he had done something to be 
ashamed of. So to spealc, his friends accom- 
panied him to the very portals of earth, before 
they conld prevail on themselves to say fare- 
well. The worst fate which could befall a 
human being was, when he went to the grave, 
to do so without a ^'following;" but it did 
not matter how unpretentious that following 
chanced to he. A certain number of persons 
had shown respect for the dead, that was 
enough. There had been no apathy, no cold- 
ness, no standing aloo£ His fi'iends had stuck 
to him to the last. In dri^-ing sleet or blind- 
ing snow no one worthy the name of friend 
shrank from the performance of the final duty. 
They followed if the roads, were a foot deep in 
mud, they stood beside the grave with the 
]'ain beating down on then.* luicoverd hcacL>, 
with the long, rank, wet grcss reaching above 
their ankles. 



8o The EarPs Pn 



'07)11 se. 



IS'o single mourning-coach i^receded by a 
hearse feathered as heavily as it might, would 
have contented that sympathetic i:)Oi)ulation. 
"Without a hearse at all it was possible for a 
coffin to be carried to the grave ; "without a 
coach it was possible to follow the coffin ; but 
it was a thing not to be thought of that any 
one should be permitted to walk out of this 
life as through a back-door, unmourned, un- 
attended. 

And when this idea of companionship ob- 
tained concerning even the poorest of the com- 
munity, how should sufficient honour be done 
to the dead earl ? 

How ? the question was easy enough to 
answer. It resolved itself into a matter of 
multiplication. Where a commoner had fifties 
the peer must have his thousands. In the 
days to come, when the high-stepping horses, 
and the sombre velvets, and the waving plumes 
and all the imdertaker's bravery should be 
forgotten, feeble old crones should still be able 
to tell their grandchildren of the ^' graiid bury- 
ing/' when the road from Eosemont to Kings- 



The Last yourney. 8i 



lough was lined by spectators wlio, so soon as 
the carriages and the horsemen, and the tenantry 
had passed, became ^'followers" also; when 
the ladies, dressed all of them in black, sat 
at the windows w^here the blinds were drawn 
half down, to view the sight ; when the tenants 
€hosen for that purpose, all fui-nished by the 
new earl with white linen hatbands, and white 
gloves, '-'- kept the curb," so that the roadway 
might be clear and unimpeded for the pro- 
cession ; when all the shops were closed, and 
the town was ''like a Sunday;" when the 
clergy of all denominations — and there were 
many different sects in Kingslough — had white 
scarves, ornamented by bows of the best black 
ribbon, and black kid gloves sent to them ; 
when, for one appearance only, the lion lay 
down with the lamb, and Father Kelly and 
Mr. MacEoberts, — who disagreed as heartily 
as it is possible for two Christians in name to 
do, and this is saying enough — walked de- 
murely side by side ; when happy was he or 
she whose friends lived on the line of route ; 
when the halt, and the deaf, and the blind 

VOL. II. G 



82 The EarPs Promise, 

reaped a rich harvest, and, their pockets full 
of halfpence, chanted the praises of the de- 
parted, of the last Glendare who shall ever 
sleep -with his ancestors in the old abbey 
situated so picturesquely on the height over- 
looking the sea. 

It was slow work traversing the weary miles 
that stretched between Eosemont and Bally- 
knock Abbey, and the Kingslough gentry had 
ample time for luncheon before crowding to 
the windows to look at the show. 

All the men, as a matter of course, were 
either following the cortege in carriages or 
holding in their horses to a walking pace in 
the rear of the carriages, but the ladies ate 
their modest meal at their leisure, and dis- 
cussed many questions concerning the Glendares 
over it. 

From the windows of Miss Eiley's house a 
good view was to be obtained of the proces- 
sion, and from attic to parlour her rooms were 
crammed by guests possessed of sufficient fore- 
thought to take their mid-day repast with 
them. As for Miss Eiley — half blind, half 



The Last yourney. 83 



deafj whole childisli — seated close by the Aviii- 
dow-fraine, slie kej^t up an incessant wail for 
Nettie. She had asked ^N'ettie — why did she 
not come ? it would amuse Lillie to see the 
show ; why, if Nettie did not care for it her- 
self, should she dej^rive her little girl of the 
pleasure ? she had been a little girl once her- 
self, and a good girl too — before she was 
naughty and ran away with Mr. Brady. 

Poor old lady ! who would not rather die in 
the summer's prime than live on into the dull 
December days, to babble idle stories to heed- 
less listeners? Who cared about the talc of 
Nettie's marriage now ? who cared for Nettie 
hersell or Mr. Brady, or Miss Eiley? The 
house was central, and commanded a good 
view of the procession. Her older guests 
hearkened to her civilly, if secretly impatient 
of her doting utterances. The younger talked, 
and whispered, and laughed, charmingly ob- 
livious of the fact that, if they lived long 
enough, age must come to them also — age 
possibly even less attractive than that pre- 
sented by Miss Eiley. But there was no 



84 The EarPs Promise. 



!N'ettie ; at no window in Kingslongh did that 
most lovely face keej) watch for the long, and 
slow, and mournful funeral array. 

Contrary to all precedent, Mrs. Brady grew 
fairer as she grew older. 

Possibly had all gone well with her — Iiad 
she married happily, and led the easy, con- 
tented life it were devoutly to be wished all 
women could lead — she might have grown 
plump, and so lost her beauty. 

But as it was, the delicate carmine of her 
cheeks had not deepened, the cheeks had 
grown no rounder, the hair had darkened but 
little, the figure was lithe and slight as ever. 
She was the !N'ettie of old save for this, that 
across her blue eyes there lay a dreamy shadow 
which added to their tenderness, and that her 
mouth, once almost childish in the pliability of 
its muscles, had acquired an expression which 
one who knew nothing of her story might 
have failed to understand aright. 

She had suiiered cruelly, she had made a 
mistake, and some of the years during which 
she must expiate her error were gone and past 



The Last Journey. 85 

— a few, only a few — but she was still so 
young that grief seemed to touch her with a 
remorseful pencil, and increased her loveliness 
instead of destroying the one great gift God 
had bestowed upon her. 

Xevertheless, few now looked upon her win- 
some face. On the rare occasions when she 
was compelled to enter Kingslough, she walked 
through it with veil drawn close, with hurried 
steps, with eyes that looked neither to right 
nor to left, that recognized and wished to 
recognize no one who had known her in the 
old days departed, 

Not so, however, Mr. Brady ; about Kings- 
lough he swaggered frequently, and time, 
which works wonders, had brought him nods 
and '^how-d'ye-do's" and ''good mornings" 
from men too idle, or too busy, or too careless 
to interest themselves concerning the ante- 
cedents of an apparently prosperous man. 

While Miss Eiley moaned over iS'ettie's ab- 
sence, he was solemnly amongst the other 
mourners reining in a mare that for blackness 
and uplifting of all her feet in protest of the 



86 The EarPs Promise. 



pace he forced lier to adopt, might have done 
credit to any undertaker in the United King- 
dom. 

As it waSj the earPs funeral brought him a 
good price for ^ Brunette.' Common decency 
forbade a deal during the tedious journey to 
Kingsloughj but human nature suggested a 
series of remarks which led a certain Captain 
Labucerbe to call next morning at Maryville 
and oifer a given sum for ' Brunette,' which, 
after a becoming hesitation and reluctance, 
Mr. Brady accepted. 

If, however, j^ettie were nowhere to be seen, 
her old companion Miss Moffat sat conspicuous 
amongst the ladies who crowded the windows 
of Major Ferris' house. Time had amply ful- 
filled Mrs. Ferris' predictions concerning her 
beauty. At four-and-twenty she was the most 
lovely woman in all that part of the coimtry. 
The world of Kingslough had settled that she 
was certain to marry Eobert Somerford, as it 
had settled years before she must marry John 
Eiley ; but a giid possessed of her beauty and 
her money had no lack of suitors, and if she 



The Last Journey. 87 



were destined to wed the late earl's nephew 
she seemed also destined to refuse before doing 
so as many wonld-be husbands as usually offer 
themselves to the favourable consideration of 
an heiress. 

Had it not indeed been for the fact of Mr. 
Somerford's constant visits at Bayview, Kings- 
lough might have decided that Grace bade 
fair to become an old maid; but as matters 
stood she was looked upon as almost engaged, 
and treated by her friends accordingly. 

Her denials of the statement were treated 
precisely then, as her denials of a similar 
statement had been treated formerly. Xings- 
lough was convinced in its own mind that 
whenever Mr. Somerford got '•'- an appoint- 
ment " the marriage would take place ; and 
Kingslough also felt satisfied she would have 
become a wife long previously but for her 
father's objection to her wedding a man who 
had no money and no position. That Mr. 
Moffat had never been asked either to consent 
or refuse was too absurd an idea to entertain. 

Of course she was going to marry Eobert 



The EarPs Promise, 



Somerford — so said Kingsloughj and whatever 
Kingslough said, it implicitly believed to be 
true. 

Slowly the hours crept by. On the road 
conversation grew brisker ; at the windows of 
the Kingslough houses it flagged grievously ; 
in the streets people were getting very weary, 
and not a few very drunk. 

The shutters of the public-houses were 
closed, it is true, but the doors stood hospi- 
tabl}^ open, and amongst the crowd of friends 
and neighbours who thronged the streets there 
were not wanting plenty of persons willing to 
treat and wishful to be treated. 

Nevertheless, even with the charm whisky 
is capable of exercising, the masses were be- 
ginning to get very tired. Everything about 
the late earl and the new earl, and my lady, 
and Mr. Eobert and Mr. and ]\Irs. Dillwyn 
that could be said had been said. Specula- 
tion itself could advance nothing further con- 
cerning the Glendare future, and the oldest 
inhabitant could remember nothing about the 
Glendare past which he had not already com- 
municated. 



The Last Jou7^ney. 89 

As for the ladies — tlie best regulated mind 
could scarcely have considered tlie entertain- 
ment provided that day particularly exhilarat- 
ing. Hostesses had committed the great mis- 
take of inviting their guests to come for 
luncheon, and consequently, when luncheon 
was over, and no sign of the funeral still 
appeared, a feeling of boredom crept over even 
the liveliest of the company. , 

The occupation of mentally criticizing each 
her neighbour's apparel was denied on this 
occasion. Every one appeared in black, and 
as of course people could not be expected to 
purchase a new dress for the occasion, a general 
effect of second or third best attire prevailed, 
which at once defied and disarmed com- 
ment. 

No Mrs. Hartley was there now in Kings- 
lough to excite or amuse the occupants of any 
drawing-room by her plain speech and sharp 
retorts. Long previously she had returned to 
a country where, to quote her own observation, 
^^ The poorest children are taught to pronounce 
the letters in the alphabet properly." 



90 The EarPs Promise, 



''' How do they proiioimce H ?" Grace wrote 
"back at once to inquire. 

In congenial society she rustled her silks — 
in a civilized land she recalled the years spent 
^'amongst a warmhearted, barefooted, and pre- 
judiced race," with something of the same 
feeling as Dr. Livingstone, say, might evince 
if he ever returned to converse familiarly con- 
cerning the inhabitants of Central Africa. In 
her descriptions of Irish ways, of Irish notions, 
of Irish management, of Irish eccentricity, the 
lady was merciless. The manners and customs 
of the Isle of Saints were described to attentive 
listeners with a verve and bitterness for which 
it seemed difficult to account, except on the 
ground of intense dislike to the country and 
the people; and in truth there had been a 
^^ difference" between her and those of the 
Irish over whom she exercised some authority, 
a difference of so grievous a description, that 
she sold all the land she owned to Lord Ard- 
morne, and, shaking the dust of Ireland off her 
feet, vowed a vow never to enter the country 



agam. 



The Last yourney, 91 



Had she remained in Kingslougli, it is pos- 
sible the lives of Mrs. Brady and Grace might 
have been different. As matters stood, both 
her former favoiuites went on their separate 
ways without forming a close friendship with 
any woman, without considering it necessary 
to establish confidential relations with any 
adviser. There was no one now to talk re- 
proachfully to Grace about the honest heart 
she had stabbed by her rejection of his love ; 
no one to show Xettie how to make the best 
thing of an existence she had marred for her- 
self so young. 

The peace of mind of Kingslough, no longer 
disturbed by the rich dress and bold utterances 
of that strong-minded Englishwoman, who 
had been so fond of golden-haii-ed Xettie and 
dark-haired Grace, of the girl with blue eyes 
and the girl with grey, had attained a state of 
tranquillity verging on dulness. But for the 
sayings and doings of the democratic party, 
there would literally have been no stock sub- 
ject of conversation amongst the elite of Kings- 
lough. As it happened, however, just at the 



g2 The EarPs Promise. 



time of Lord Glendare's death, the malcon- 
tents and those who, wishing to acquire noto- 
riety, self-elected themselves champions of the 
people's rights, had been making an unusual 
disturbance. Meetings were held and speeches 
delivered; the beauties of Ireland described, 
and the soil, ^^ blessed by heaven and cursed 
by man," invested with a number of qualities 
subsequent experience has scarcely evolved 
from it. Tom Moore was freely quoted, as 
well as some of the extremely beautiful poetry 
2:>roduced during the time of the Eebellion. 
History was ransacked to furnish instances of 
English cruelty and Irish chivalry. After 
listening to the orations poured forth with all 
the fervour, and imreason, and discursiveness 
for which democratic orators have always been 
noted, an uninformed auditor could only draw 
one conclusion, namely, that there had never 
been a great statesman, poet, patriot, soldier, 
sailor, or writer born out of Ireland. 

TVith throbs of national pride the people 
listened and believed, as name after name was 
recited from what the speakers were pleased 



The Last Journey. 93 

to style the '^ glory-roll of time." With rejoicing 
they gathered beside ingle nooks, and around 
the turf fire of some wayside public-house, 
to hear the schoolmaster or any other ^'scholard" 
read out leaders in which the Whig paper of 
the county spoke of the ^' oppressed tenants," 
of the '^grinding tyranny" of the landlords, 
of the right of the men who in the '' sweat of 
their brows tilled the soil to reap the fruit of 
their labours." 

It would have been touching — had it not 
been almost heart-breaking— to behold the 
simple faith with which these utterances were 
received. jN'ow that men had ^' arisen to speak 
for them," the population felt satisfied the 
future would be bright as the past had been 
gloomy. 

That they were in danger of falling between 
two stools never occurred to them ; that old 
friends might withdraw helping hands, that 
new friends might be unable really to benefit 
was too common-sense a view of the matter to 
present itself; that orators were all uncon- 
sciously driving nails into the coffins of one 



94 The EarPs Pn 



omise. 



generation in order to benefit generations then 
unborn, was a truth too self-evident to be 
acknowledged by anybody. They believed 
that in gaining fresh advantages, they should 
lose none of the old ; that in being inde- 
pendent of the rich, they stood no danger of 
losing the help and friendly feeling of the class 
above them. 

It was not much they really wanted, some- 
thing less than justice would have satisfied 
every honest, sensible man in the community ; 
but a great deal more than justice would not 
have contented the new brooms, who believed 
society only wanted to be swept by them to be 
made clean, who held the doctrine that the 
only way to remodel old ways was to destroy 
them, 'to encourage afi'ection between all classes 
in the commimity was to exterminate class 
altogether, and to exemplify practically the 
truth of the Irish theory that ^'one man is as 
good as another — and better." 

In no community could social changes such 
as these indicated, have passed altogether 
unnoticed ; and in a neighbourhood like Ivinixs- 



The Last Journey. 95 

louglij where the upper ten bore an abs-ordly 
small proportion to the lower thousand, much 
conversation was induced by the evil doings 
of the new prophets who had arisen to lead 
the people to destruction. 

Even amongst ladies the topic proved one of 
considerable interest, and much of the talk in 
many houses on the day of Lord Glendare's 
funeral centred in the grievances, real or 
fancied, of the lower orders. 

As for Miss Moffat, her sympathies were 
with the people, but she had no toleration 
for the demagogues who were deluding them. 

An earnest, quiet, patient friend of the 
poor, she did not care to listen to foolish talk, 
either about their wrongs or the way to right 
them. 

With all the strength of her nature she 
loved the hard-working, devoted, uncom- 
plaining men and women amongst whom she 
had grown from a child to a woman, but well 
she knew it was because of their unconscious- 
ness of fortitude, of endurance, of humble 
heroism, that she had gi'own so fond of them, 



96 TJie EarPs Promise, 

and she almost hated the orators who were 
trying to change the very natures of those 
they addressed. 

At the same time she had seen too much of 
the bitterness of the poverty against which 
her humble friends waged incessant war ; she 
understood too well the struggle occupiers of 
land had to get enough out of the soil to pay 
their rent and keep soul and body together, 
to endure with patience senseless remarks con- 
cerning the discontent and ingratitude of poor 
deluded creatures Avho flocked all too eagerly 
to hear the tale of their wrongs and their trials 
recounted with dangerous eloquence, with 
declamation and exaggeration. 

Her heart was sore for the people. Had 
she sprung from them, had she been of their 
blood and their bone, her soul could not have 
gone out to them in their sorrow" and their 
suffering more freely than proved the case. 
She ^' spoke up for them," and did no good 
either to them or herself by her advocacy. 

'' When you are older you will know better," 
said one antiquated lady, shaking her ancient 
head with an air of solemn wisdom. 



The Last yourncy. 97 

"The whole matter," broke in a lively little 
matron, *' pnts me in mind of that story which 
tells how a client, who snddenly burst into 
tears whilst his counsel was speaking, being 
asked why he cried, answered ' I never knew 
how much I had lost until now ; ' and in 
like manner the peasantry never knew they 
were oppressed and injured till Mr. Hanlon, 
and men such as he, told them so." 

'^Do you mean us to infer from your anec- 
dote that the client had lost nothing ? " asked 
Grace with judicial calmness. 

"How can I tell? you have the story as I 
heard it." 

" Because," proceeded Miss Moffat, "if you 
wish to make me believe that the tenants 
even in this neighbourhood have no just cause 
of complaint — " 

"For pity's sake." interrupted Mrs. Perris, 
"do not let us open up that question, Grace! 
We are none of us landowners. If there 
is anything wrong, we are utterly powerless 
to put it right. For my own part, I agree 
with my husband that nothing could place 

VOL. II. H 



gS The EarPs Promise, 

the present race of tenants in a better posi- 
tion. They ought all to be labourers. They 
have not money enough to work the land 
easily or profitably. If they are miserably 
poor it is not because their rent is too high, 
but because they have no capital to put into 
their farms excepting their own and their 
children's labour." 

^^ Yes; and they would shoot anybody with 
money, who took a farm and offered to give 
them employment, or else burn his house 
down about his ears, or set fire to his ricks," 
finished a maiden lady, whose brother, having 
tried the experiment of going a-field for his 
tenants, had been compelled to abandon the 
attempt. ^^Take my word for it. Miss Moffat, 
when you become one of the Glendares, you 
will see there is another side to the land ques- 
tion than that espoused by Mr. Hanlon and his 
set." 

^' When I become one of the Glendares, it 
is extremely likely I shall adopt the oi3inions 
of the family on all subjects," said Grace a 
little bitterly. 



The Last Joiunicy. 99 

"It is supposed," remarked the lively 
matron who had previously spoken, '^ that 
if Mr. Somerford were in a position to de- 
clare his sentiments, he would side with the 
people." 

"The younger members of great houses are 
generally in opposition," said Colonel Perris' 
father, who, by reason of an attack of gout 
had been compelled to forego the pleasure of 
accompanying Lord Glendare's remains to the 
family vault; "just as men who want to rise 
are Eadicals, and men who have risen are 
Tories. Am I not right, Miss Moffat ?" 

" Possibly," she replied. " Your experience 
of life has been much wider and longer than 
mine." 

" Ah, Miss Grace !'- exclaimed the old man, 
" how cruel it is of you to remind me how far 
behind I have left my youth." 

^' I do not think youth such a particularly 
happy season that one ought to regret its 
departure," was the answer. 

"Wait till you are old before you decide 
that question," he retorted. 



loo The EarPs Promise. 

^^ And otliers, you would imply," she added. 

^^And others," he repeated. ^^ Believe me, 
those who think there can be nothing easier 
than to put the world right, often find tlic 
operation more difficult in practice than in 
theory. Take for instance Mr. Eobert Somer- 
ford^" 

'' Perhaps, Mr. Perris, you will defer point- 
ing a moral by the help of Mr. Somerford 
till _he is present to hear for himself. I beg- 
to state I am not the keeper of his conscience." 
And with a heightened colour Miss Moffat 
walked to the window, whilst the ladies ex- 
changed significant looks, and Mr. Perris 
chuckled audibly. 

^' If they do not come soon, it will be quite 
dark before they get to the abbey," said Mrs. 
Mynton, referring to the funeral party, and, 
true to her instincts, striving to make matters 
comfortable for Grace. *^Hush! is not that 
the bell?"; 

It was the bell of St. Martin's Church tolling 
slowly, solemnly. 

^' They have got to the Black Eiver, then," 



The Last Journey. lOi 



observed Mr. Perris, that being tbe point 
where the parish of Kingslough was supposed 
to commence. 

'^ As they pass through the town the whole 
peal is to be clammed — muffled," said his 
daughter-in-law. 

'' I thought it was considered unsafe to ring 
all the bells," remarked Grace, not sorry, 
perhaps, to have an opportunity of speaking on 
an indifferent subject. 

'^ The risk is to be run to-day, at all events," 
was the reply. '^ If the tower comes down, and 
the ringers are killed, it will be a graceful 
opportunity for the new earl to win golden 
opinions by rebuilding the first, and provid- 
ing for the families of the second." 

" I wonder if he will remain at Eosemont?" 
marvelled Mrs. Mynton. 

"I should think he would reside with his 
mother," observed a widow, who had kept 
her only son tied to her apron-strings till he 
was long past forty. 

^^ I should think he would do no such 
thing," said Mrs. Perris decidedly. ^' He ought 



I02 The EarPs Pn 



wmse. 



to travel, and get enlarged ideas, and rid 
himself of the absurd notion that the earth 
was created solely and exclusively for the 
benefit of the Glendares." 

^^ Who is Eadical now ? " suggested Grace. 

^^I am not," was the reply; "but I would 
have young men be young men, and learn 
what is passing in the world, and acquire 
fresh ideas. How should any one be benefited 
by living with Lady Glendare — a silly, 
affected woman ? " 

"Who must be in grievous trouble,'' inter- 
posed Miss Moffat softly. 

"True, my dear, and I beg her and your 
pardon for speaking so ill-naturedly. She 
must be in trouble. The earl's death will 
make a great difference to her." 

"She intends to go to her sister, Lady 
Martinell, for the present," Grace explained ; 
"and Lord Trevor — the new earl — talks of 
staying at Eosemont." 

"At Eosemont! what attraction can he 
find there ? " exclaimed the company in 
chorus. 



The Last Journey. 103 

^^ Mr. Dillwyn thinks it would be advan- 
tageous to the property for him to remain on 
the spot for a time at least." 

^' Mr. Dillwyn, oh ! Mr. Dillwyn, ah ! 
Mr. Dillwyn has great influence. Mr. Dillwyn 
knows all the ins and outs of the Glendare 
•estates." 

These and other expressions like them were 
uttered in different tones by the assembled 
ladies. In their hearts, perhaps, they had 
hoped the death of the earl would prove the 
signal for Mr. Dillwyn's dismissal. Amongst 
them there were several who could not have 
married the agent themselves, but there were 
few who ever intended to forgive his marry- 
ing Mrs. Somerford. 

By the window stood Grace Moffat, listening 
to the storm in a teapot she had brewed so un- 
wittingly. She was sorry now she had come 
into Kingslough. The whole of the talk about 
herself and Eobert Somerford, the Glendares 
and their tenantry, seemed to her ill chosen 
on such an occasion. 

She had longed, with a longing the uature 



104 TJic EarPs Proviisc. 

of which she could not have explained to 
herself or any one else, to see the funeral pro- 
cession—the hearse, the coaches, the carriages, 
the long, long train of mourners. The whole 
thing had taken possession of her imagination ; 
she had brooded over the earl's death; she 
recalled the stories of the Somerfords' former 
greatness ; the years when, as legends ran 
amongst the poor, their doors stood wide to all 
comers ; when the gentry feasted in the hall, 
and there was plenty and to spare in the 
kitchen; when no beggar left the gate un- 
relieved ; when, let money be spent in England 
or abroad, or wherever it might be, with a 
careless prodigality, there was no stint at 
home; and she contrasted those years with 
the later and more evil times upon which the 
Glendares had fallen. 

That was the beginning, this was the end. 
From Eobert Somerford she had heard histories 
of the -shifts to which his uncle was compelled 
to resort, the anxieties he endui-ed, the small 
gratification he was ever able to take out of 
his estates, his title, his wife, his childi-en. 



TJic Last Journey. 105 

To Grace, who formerly thought the life 
of an earl must be one of unqualified happiness, 
these revelations proved a disillusion almost 
impossible to endure. To be placed so high, 
and yet have to stoop so low ; to have the 
power, apparently, of achieving so much, and 
yet to be unable to do anything useful ; to hold 
the happiness of so many in his hand, and still 
to fail in bettering the condition of those most 
dependent upon him ; to be burdened with 
debt, not altogether of his own contracting 
but to a great extent, an ever-increasing 
legacy handed down from ancestor to ancestor 
through generations to him, and yet lacking 
moral courage to retrench and live in honour 
and comfort, if not luxury, — the whole tiling 
seemed to her so pitiful, that she could neither 
get the life nor the death of the late earl out 
of her mind. 

What would the new earl, invested so young 
with such a terrible responsibility, make of 
his life ? On him devolved the debts, the 
duties, the cares, the upholding of an ancient 
name. How would he, still almost a boy, sup- 



io6 - The EarP s Promise. 

port the burden thrust upon Mm — the legacy 
of debt, the duty of honour, the commission 
to put wrong right ? How would he act ? 

And if not he, how would Eobert Somerford 
— supposing — only supposing ? 

She put the idea swiftly aside. Eobert was 
still only a cadet of a noble house. So far 
as she was concerned, she had no desire ever 
to see him otherwise, only — 

Bound at that moment went the bells, 
taken from the old abbey, open ; round 
again, muffled ; round again open ; round 
muffled, and still once again, then clammed, 
muffled. 

With tongue silenced, with face a little pale, 
each woman hurried to the window ; the pro- 
cession was at hand — they were about to 
see the last in this world of Louis Earl of 
Glendare. 

On came the cavalcade — first the under- 
taker's men, a strange sight in the little town, 
then the hearse conveying all that was mortal 
of the late earl, then the first coach, containing 
the new earl, the Hon. Cecil Somerford, the 



TJic Last Journey. 107 

late earl's uncle, a shrivelled, weird old 
man, my lady's brother, and Mr. Eobert 
Somerford. 

That vehicle held the probable succession in 
this order, — first, the earl, then Mr. Cecil, 
then Mr. Eobert. It were idle to suppose the 
two latter were not calculating chances, even 
on the way to the grave. 

It was quite possible Mr. Cecil might be 
a peer before he died. On the other hand, 
given some chances in his favour, it was 
equally possible Mr. Somerford might step 
into the coveted position. 

How they loved each other, those two 
mourners ! how they hated each other were 
indeed the better phrase; with the low, 
vulgar hatred wherewith Mrs. Briggs' laun- 
dress regards her relation Mrs. Griggs' nurse 
when she imagines Mrs. Wiggs, aunt to both, 
has left to the latter a snug sum in the savings' 
bank and her personal effects as well. 

Looking around, and seeing how money 
and rank are coveted, which amongst us is 
there that should wish to live ? 



Jo8 The EarPs P, 



romisc. 



Eeversc the notion, and wliich is tliere that 
should wish to die, and leave such prizes, as 
most people regard them, behind ? 

Slowly the procession passed along, the sad, 
grey waves lapping in upon the shore, wailing 
out a requiem for the dead. 

Dark and sullen looked the sea under the 
leaden sky — like a vast desert the waters 
stretched aAvay to the horizon, where clouds 
and waves seemed to touch each other. 

It was a sight to make one shiver, that 
mournful pageant — that sorrowful sea, and all 
the time the bells rang out open, muffled, 
clammed. 

IN'ext behind the coach containing the new 
earl followed one in which were seated other 
relatives of the deceased nobleman, then came 
my lady's brother, then Lord Ardmorne's 
carriage, occupied by himself and two of his sis- 
ter's sons ; to that succeeded a long line of car- 
riages belonging to the gentry for twenty miles 
round, then more humble vehicles, covered 
and jaunting-cars, phaetons and dog-carts, all 
conveying self-constituted mourners to Bally- 



The Last yoicrney. 109 



knock Abbey, while beside the carriages and 
cars rode gentlemen and officers who had 
come from far and near to pay the last token 
of respect to the late earl. 

As the procession moved on, the tenants 
closed in behind the conveyances. 

Many of them had walked all the way from 
Eosemont ; but those selected to keep the 
line, so soon as the carriages had passed by, 
fell into position as part of the funeral 
train. 

Altogether an impressive pageant, not by 
reason of any great pomp or grandeur in the 
arrangement, but rather by the mere force and 
accumulation of numbers. 

Along the Parade, past Glendare Terrace, 
then making a slight sweep inland, it began 
to ascend the steep hill it was needful to climb 
before the abbey could be reached. 

It was late in the afternoon, and the evening 
shadows were already to the east darkening 
down over the the sea, when the hearse 
stopped at the rusty gate of the burying- 
ground, through which no conveyance could 
pass. 



1 1 o The EarP s Promise, 

With, many pauses, with many relays of 
bearers, the heavy coffin was borne into the 
abbey, where, in the roofless chancel, with 
the heavy branches of the ivy falling across 
crumbling walls, the clergyman read the first 
part of the funeral service over the remains 
of him who had so lately been Earl of Glen- 
dare. 

Borne through the stillness came the cry of 
the sea-birds hurrying homeward to their 
rocky haunts. The tide, which had turned 
some hours previously, was rapidly covering 
the shingle, and the waves broke with a mo- 
notonous plash on the beach below Ballj^knock 
head; whilst seaward, a little between the 
town, nestling under its hills, and the extreme 
east, over which night seemed to be settling 
down, a line of white foam marked the spot 
where sunken rocks lay concealed. 

A dreary landscape to contemplate, a dreary 
time and place for such a ceremony. 

Black yawned the vault where so many 
a Glendare slept dreamlessly, and when the 
coffin had been lowered and the handful of 



TJie Last Journey. 1 1 1 

earth was flung upon it, the sound echoed back 
upon the ears of the bystanders with a hollow 
reverberation which had in it something awful 
to the imagination. 

It was all over, and the multitude dispersed, 
tenants, friends, relatives, they had done every- 
thing they could for the dead, and the time 
had come to leave him ^till eternity. Already 
the great funeral was a thing of the past, the 
late earl a memory. From tlie east darkness 
crept up swiftly, night was coming on apace ; 
the sheep that, frightened by such a con- 
course of people, had stood huddled together 
on the hill-side, now came timidly back and 
made their way over the low broken wall 
into the old graveyard ; the men whose 
business it was to close the vault stood Avait- 
ing with their lanterns and tools to begin their 
work ; but still Mr. Dillwyn could not prevail 
on the earl to leave the coffin. Through the 
whole of the time occupied in traversing the 
long road that stretched between Eosemont 
and Bailyknock he never spoke a word, he 
never evinced a sign of emotion. During the 



112 The EarPs Proviisc. 

burial service it was noticed by several persons 
that he seemed as collected as though the dead 
had been neither kith nor kin to him ; and the 
calmness with which he informed Mr. Dillwyn 
that he wished to go down into the vault alone, 
for a moment deceived even that astute gentle- 
man as to his real feelings. 

Five, ten minutes passed, then Mr. Dillwyn 
followed into the charnel-house, where, by the 
lidit of two candles that were flickering in the 
draught, he saw the new earl kneeling on the 
ground, his arms stretched across the coffin 
and his head laid upon them, crying like a 
child. 

He took no notice either of entreaty or 
remonstrance. It was all in vain that the 
agent tried first to soothe and then to rouse 
him. lie might have been deaf for any heed 
he paid to comfort or expostulation, and when 
at length he was almost dragged into the open 
air, he continued sobbing as though his heart 
were breaking. 

Then the damp night wind, laden with sea 
mist, brought on a violent fit of coughing, 



TJic Last Journey. 113 

wticli lasted till they had descended the hill 
and entered their carriage. 

'-^ We had better have the windows up/' said 
Mr. Dillwyn, the moment they were in 
motion, anxiously suiting his actions to his 
words. 

For he saw, and so did Eobert Somerford, that 
the handkerchief the young man held to his 
mouth was stained with blood ! 



VOL. II. 



14 



OHAPTEE V. 

THE P E P L E'S friend. 

The Mr. Hanlon casually referred to in the 
previous chapter, had been the fii'st to set the 
ball of democracy rolling through Kings- 
lough. 

I do not mean that he originated the feeling 
of discontent ; that he invented a new form of 
political religion which he invited the people 
to join ; or that he introduced strange and 
heretical doctrines concerning the rights and 
X3rivileges of the powers that then were to the 
consideration of those who were many degrees 
lower in the social scale. But he gave the 
popular sentiment shape ; he spoke the ideas 



The People's Friend. 115 



that had never hitherto found voice; he 
turned the dissatisfaction which had long and 
silently prevailed, into a wail of complaint, 
and then he set his poetry to music ; he 
wedded the moans of the down-trodden to his 
own fervid eloquence, and the men who had 
never before got a gentleman to talk their 
thoughts for them, hung upon his sentences, 
and believed that the good time which each 
succeeding generation seeks but never finds — 
the good time, so long in coming — was at 
hand at last. 

A gentleman they called him. Well, per- 
haps so. And yet, possibly, the hardiest of 
his admirers might have hesitated to give him 
a niche beside one of the ''old stock." He 
dressed better, spoke better, was better edu- 
cated, was better looking than any other male 
resident in Kingslough; he came of a suffi- 
ciently respectable family, and he was not 
destitute of money, nor mean about spending 
it. But there was something lacking ; some- 
thing which, in a different country and a 
larger sphere, he might either have lived 

I 2 



Ii6 TJie EarPs Promise. 

down or corrected, that prevented his making 
any mark socially amongst his eqnals, or 
haying the right hand of fellowship held out 
hy his superiors. 

And under this neglect the man writhed. 
The son of an^ army surgeon who, after seeing 
all sorts of places and associating with all 
kinds and varieties of men, was well enough 
content at last to settle down on his patrimonial 
estate of a few hundred acres of bog and call 
himself the ^' squire," Theophilus Hanlon had, 
from the paternal mansion, looked out uj^on 
the world with an ever- increasing conviction 
that the world w^ould be exceedingly glad to 
welcome his appearance. 

He was not singular in this idea : other 
young men have held the same opinion, and 
been disabused of it. The singular thing 
about Theophilus Hanlon was that no lapse of 
time and no sequence of events seemed able to 
teach him the world had not waited — was not 
waiting for him with breathless anxiety. 

He had lived much with women — a bad be- 
ginning for one of his self-conscious, conceited 



TJic People's Friend. 117 



temperament. He was clever, and his mother 
and sisters and aunt and grandmother lifted up 
their hands in astonishment at the extent of 
his knowledge. 

The years spent by Mr. Hanlon, senior, out 
of Ireland were not however entirely bare of 
fruit. He was wise enough to see that the home 
atmosphere did not altogether agree with his 
son's mental health, and that there was not 
the slightest chance of Theophilus finding his 
level unless he went far afield from Hanlon's- 
town to do it. 

The result of this was, that although it 
sorely crippled his income to educate his son 
in England, he sent him to a good school in 
one of the midland counties; and when the 
lad was considered sufficiently old and well 
informed for the purpose, despatched him 
to Edinburgh, where, after duly attending 
lectures, and going through a very respectable 
course of private study, he passed his exam.i- 
nation, and returned to Ireland and his parents 
'licensed to kill." 

Eut, as at Hanlon's-town, it was an utter 



Ii8 The EarPs P> 



ro 111 ISC, 



impossibility for him to hope for patients, as 
there was nothing in the whole of the neigh- 
bourhood on which to operate, except snipe, 
teal, and wild-duck, it became necessary for 
the young man to select farther afield the scene 
of his future triumphs. 

Wherever he went he had always been a 
favourite with women ; his curly brown hair, 
his hazel eyes, his clear complexion, his up- 
right figure, his assured walk, his confident 
manner, his profound belief in his own abili- 
ties, had won him the admiration of that sex 
which is so apt to assume as correct the esti- 
mate men entertain of their own virtues, until 
those men chance to become their husbands ;. 
and already Theophilus considered he had 
nothing to do except to step across life's 
threshold and walk straight away to success. 

So far experience had taught him very 
little ; this Mr. Hanlon, senior, confessed to 
himself with a sigh. He might as well have 
kept his money as spent it in keeping his boy 
at school. 

'^ I can't make out what you want at all,'' 



The People's Friend. 119 

said Mrs. Hanlon, to whom lie confided his 
anxieties. ^' Yon might search Ireland 
through and not find such another as Phil. 
"Why he is as upright as a dart, and as hand- 
some as a picture, and as dutiful as a girl, and 
then what is there he can't do ? what is there 
he doesn't know ? " 

" He doesn't know anything about himself," 
replied Mr. Hanlon; ^' and I am not sure that 
book learning can quite supply that defect. 
However I have done all I could " 

^'And that you have," finished the warm- 
hearted, though not overwise matron, '-^ that 
you haA'-e. And sold Harkaway, and parted 
with your diamond buckles and gold snuff-box, 
that the boy might not want a start in life. 

" But he won't forget it to you, he won't," 
continued Mrs. Hanlon, the tears starting into 
eyes bright and hazel like her son's, and 
Avarming in her Irish idiom as a high-couraged 
horse warms to his work ; ^' when he's driving 
through Dublin to the Castle in his carriage 
and pair, and another pair to the back of that 
in his stables besides, he won't forget the 



I20 The EarPs P. 



roinisc, 



father who gave up hunting for his sake, and 
sold the emerald pin out of the breast of his 
shirt that his son might want for nothing: 
among the strangers. It will come home to 
youj Larry, your goodness and thought for 
that boy." 

"" Well, I hope so," said Mr. Hanlon, who 
evidently entertained a lower opinion of the 
soil in which he had sown for future reaping 
than his wife. '^ Anyhow, I have done all I 
could. My judgment may have been at fault, 
but according to my light I have done all I 
could." 

Had the opinion of Mr. Theophilus Hanlon 
been taken, he would have confirmed the 
hopeful augury of his maternal parent. 
Judging by results, nothing could be wiser 
than the course his father had adopted. Was 
not his accent better than English ? Had not 
one of his lady friends assured him his speech 
had all the refinement of the Court of St. 
James's, while retaining the mellow softness of 
the seductive Dublin brogue ? He had added 
another charm, while retaining the old. Was 



The People's Friend. 121 

not liis appearance as attractive as that of 
the most fashionably-dressed Sackville Street 
lounger ? Were not his mental acquirements 
far beyond those of most other men ? Had he 
not learned and remembered, had he not 
studied and to good purpose ? Were not his 
manners fit for a palace ? to quote Mrs. Han- 
Ion's own words, and to borrow again from 
the freely expressed statements of that ad- 
miring parent, "Even to his handwriting, 
there was a character and a dash about all he 
did.'' 

He could shoot, he could ride, he could 
dance; what should stand between him and 
wealth, and fame, and happiness ? 

Out in that great w^orld of which Mrs. 
Hanlon knew so little, but where she had a 
sure faith heiresses were plentiful and con- 
fiding, her boy would, she opined, " Pick up 
something worth the lifting." 

Theophilus had no idea of picking up any- 
thing in a hurry. If he were inclined to 
throw himself away, there was a little girl in 
Worcestershii'c he might have for the asking. 



122 The EarPs Fn 



vimsc. 



A girl who had made eyes at him when he 
was only a schoolboy, and who was mistress of 
a very snug fortune. Theophilus knew he 
could have her, for she wrote to him fre- 
quently with a certain tenderness of tone, and 
on the occasion of his last visit to her uncle's 
house she had gone as close to proposing for 
the conceited young Irishman as a girl well 
could ; hut he was still at the entrance of that 
wood whence he had liberty to select his 
sapling. He would not choose hastily, he 
would see what grew to right and left of the 
enchanted pathway and cut accordingly. 

Till then behold him a bachelor, careless, 
unfettered, free to go wherever chance called 
or fate beckoned. 

Fate beckoned him to Kingslough. The 
precise chain of circumstances it would be 
tedious to follow ; but an old friend of Mr. 
Hanlon's happening to he?r he wanted to find 
a good opening for his sou, a surgeon, wrote 
to say Kingslough presented what he sought. 

Only one medical man in the place, town 
improving and extending yearly ; becoming a 



The People's Friend. 



fashionable seaside resort ; present doctor 
breaking up, sligJitl}^ deaf and sight failing ;. 
only necessary to take apartments, and prac- 
tice certain to follow. Beautiful scenery ; 
good society . 

So averred Mr. Hanlon's informant, who, 
being a man of good connexion, an officer, and 
connected with one or two old families in the 
north of Ireland, had probably found a visit to 
that part of the country very pleasant in- 
deed. 

Strangers often do find sojourning in a 
neighboui'hood more delightful than the in- 
habitants themselves ; perhaps for the same 
reason that the good qualities of most peopJe 
reveal themselves more fully to acquaintances 
than to those of their own household. 

Englishmen who have visited the Isle of 
Saints are always eloquent concerning the 
hospitality shown to them. On the same 
subject, however, the Irish themselves are 
occasionally discreetly silent. 

After he had been a couple of years in 
Kingslough, Mr. Ilanlon had many opinions 



124 The EarPs Promise. 



to express relative to this matter, none of 
ihem complimentary to the inhabitants. 

Upon the other hand the inhabitants gene- 
rally were not complimentary when they 
spoke of Mr. Hanlon. 

Pecuniarily he could not complain of his 
success. For a young man and a stranger, he 
had a large and not unprofitable practice. 
His living cost him little, his habits were not 
expensive. He had made friends Avith the 
beggars, he could afford to go his rounds on 
horseback, and to wear far finer broadcloth 
than Dr. Girvan had ever donned, but the 
Kingslough Upper Ten closed their doors upon 
him. 

They would neither let him physick nor 
associate with them. To invert the words of a 
celebrated wit — they returned his medicine 
and dispensed with his visits. 

Why, who could tell ? — they conceived a 
prejudice against the man. If he had 
crouched to them, perhaps in time he might 
have crept his way into their parlours and 
drawing-rooms — had he been humble, and 



The People's Friend. 125 



comported himself with commendable bashf ill- 
ness, they might possibly have eyentually 
patted him on the back and bid him take heart 
of grace, and not be confounded and over- 
whelmed by their condescension. 

As it was, he held his head too erect, he 
spoke with too nnabashed a front, he treated 
even the highest with too great an assumption 
of equality to please people who held their 
own heads very high, and when they spoke 
expected to be listened to with deference, and 
felt themselves to be better than anybody in 
the land, unless indeed it might be the Duke 
of Leinster and a few others of the same 
rank. 

In a word Kingslough tabooed Mr. Hanlon, 
and Mr. Hanlon had his revenge. In our own 
times we have seen the effect of a judicious 
bone thrown to a very dissatisfied and yelping 
leader of discontented masses. In those times 
Kingslough felt the effect of not having asked 
Mr. Hanlon to dinner. Had they stopped his 
mouth with food eaten in good company, the 
democrats must have waited a little longer for 
the arrival of an exponent of tlieir wrongs. 



126 The EarPs Pro7ni 



se. 



As matters stood, since Mr. Hanlon could 
not have the gentry, he ranged himself with 
the people. Smarting under slights real and 
imaginary, he grew rabid against ^' those 
ignorant persons who called themselves the 
aristocracy.' ' ' ' Nature's gentlemen — those 
who delved and dug, those who followed the 
plough and worked hardly for that they 
earned honestly, were the only form of nobi- 
lity he could recognize." 

^' He was neither Whig nor Tory; he was 
for the people, who were coming to their 
rights at last." *' He loved the Irish, but he 
€Ould not call mushroom lords or newly 
created marquises Irish. By what right did 
they hold their lauds ? Should honest men 
be kept serfs and slaves because a couple of 
centuries previously a profligate thief had 
bestowed stolen land upon one of the members 
of his fraternity ? " This and much more 
said Mr. Hanlon in private and in public. 
Whenever in the '^ wild parts of Ireland," as 
the Kingslough people called the midland and 
southern parts of their own country — a com- 



The People^ s Friend. ii^j 

pliment reciprocated by calling tlie province 
in which Kingsloiigh was situated the ''black 
I^orth," — one of those accidents occurred 
which are not unusual even now, Mr. Hanlon 
pointed the moral and adorned the tale. 

IS'ot even the " largest circulation in the 
world" could have idealized a fact better 
than he. 

Were a landlord shot — and shot plenty of 
landlords were — ^he drew pictures of evicted 
tenants, of deserted hearths, of cottages 
whence the roof-tree had been ruthlessly torn, 
of nursing mothers driven forth to feel their 
sucking children dying at the breast ; of men 
wasted with fever falling by the wayside and 
" seeking that justice in heaven they had been 
<lenied on earth." 

That was Mr. Hanlon' s style of oratory, and 
the facts on which he founded it were some- 
times too true ; but then he forgot, like all 
special pleaders, the other side — the unpaid 
rent, the untilled land, the exhausted acres ; 
the hut it was a disgrace for a man possessed 
of his full complement of legs, arms, and 



128 The EarPs Promise. 



senses to call a house and a home ; the half- 
starved cow ; the greyhound-like pig ; the 
energetic fowls that laid only because they 
sought their food with twenty times the in- 
dustry and courage displayed by their owners. 
This side of the question of which the ^'wild 
parts of Ireland" presented examples in 
plenty, was forgotten by Mr. Hanlon when he 
waxed eloquent, and I question much whether 
when he so wrought upon the feelings of his 
auditors, one amongst them bestowed a second 
thought on the man stricken down in his 
prime, of the wife left a widow, of the chil- 
dren orphans. 

These things whicli would in England have 
driven an orderly population mad, which 
would have caused a cry of ^' blood for blood '' 
to ring from Berwick to Penzance, failed to 
stir the hearts of the northern Irish. 

They had their ideas about landlords ; and 
if those ideas failed to find such unmistakable 
expression in the ISTorth as in other parts of 
the island, it was not because their feelings were 
less keen or their judgment less critical. 



The People's Friend, 129 

Their passions were not vindictive and 
treacherous, like those of the truer, more im- 
pulsive, scarcely civilized Celt, but they were 
men more dangerous to arouse, harder to 
subdue than any other in Ireland. 

"Where in the annals of that unhappy 
country shall we find a parallel to the holding 
of Derry, the heroism, the self-denial, the ob- 
durate determination to win or die ? 

And it was to the descendants of men such 
as those who kept the walls of the maiden 
city that this man held forth his parable ; it 
was amongst such enduring fuel that he thrust 
his torch, trying to kindle the smouldering 
discontent into flame. 

How he and men like him succeeded there 
can be no need to tell. Their success is now 
a matter of history. IS'ever perhaps was so 
much, for evil as some consider, for good as 
others declare, accomplished in a given time 
in any country as in Ireland. Fifty years ago, 
ay, far less than fifty, the tenant farmers were 
of as little account in the estimation of their 
landlords as Gurtli the Swineherd in the eyes 

VOL. II. K 



130 The EarPs Promise, 

of his master, and now Jack is as good as Sir 
Harry in his own eyes, and all the old land- 
marks are removed, and a new regime has 
commenced — inevitable perhaps, irrevocable 
certainly, but which, nevertheless, no thought- 
ful man can contemplate with pleasure, since 
progress should be gradual rather than in- 
stantaneous, the growth of years rather than 
the result of a political eruption. 

Thoughtful people in the days of which I 
write were much exercised in their judgments 
as to what was right and what was wrong. 
Thoughtful people have now to accept the 
change, be it right or wi'ong ; but in those 
days the beginning of the end, was only — and 
no one could prognosticate how the event 
should prove. 

Now, notwithstanding the fact that women 
are fervent politicians, it may very well be 
questioned whether they take a new measure 
home to nui^se, as was the ease before they 
had learned, or were permitted, to express 
their opinions so fluently, as is the case at 
present. 



The Peoples Friend. 131 

Grace Moffat was no politician, thongh she 
belonged to a party, and yet the matters con- 
cerning which Mr. Hanlon disconrsed so glibly 
were to her subjects of daily and hourly con- 
sideration. 

No one had felt, or could feel more keenly 
than she, the rotten state of that fair Den- 
mark in which her lot was cast ; she had lived 
too much amongst the people not to have 
learned to love and feel for them ; but she had 
also heard from her father so many remarks 
concerning the improvidence and false views 
of political economy prevailing in Ireland, 
that whilst her sentiments inclined her to 
one side, her judgment disposed her to favour 
the other. 

Thus she was in the unenviable position 
known as between two stools. "When she 
listened to the opinions that obtained in Tory 
circles, she felt herself a Whig ; when she 
heard the Eadical outpourings, she felt herself 
a Tory. Society had never injured her per- 
sonally, and therefore she was not disposed 
like Mr. Hanlon to sweep away all the distinc- 
tions of society. k 2 



132, The EarVs Promise. 

In a word, when the new prophet pro- 
pounded one of his favourite theories, — 

" Worth makes the man — 
The want of it the fellow ;" 

she felt inclined to disagree with a proposition 
which, carried out by Mr. Hanlon, declared 
Amos Scott to be a finer gentleman than 
Eobert Somerford. 

Theoretically Mr. Hanlon might be right, 
practically she resented his doctrines. Taking 
a large view of the subject, Mr. Hanlon might 
be one of the best and most disinterested 
patriots that ever lived ; but taking a personal 
and private view. Miss Moff'at felt she had 
rarely met a man who excited in her so sharp 
an antipathy. Though not free of the magic 
circle in Kingslough, Mr. Hanlon had met 
Miss Moffat — of whom in the new form of 
language he saw fit to invent for himself when 
society refused to recognize his merits, he 
spoke as '^a good woman," and Miss Moffat's 
acquaintance with him was more than mere 
bowing or a formal How-do-you-do. 



The Peopled Frioid. 133 

She met him on his rounds when she paid 
her visits to the farmers' wives ; he attended 
the jDOor often without asking for fee and 
reward, and Miss Moffat had seen that he 
did not suffer for his generosity; and thus, 
though he had never eaten bread or salt at 
Bayview, he was not altogether antagonistic 
to Miss Moffat. 

When the humbling of the aristocrats 
took place, he did not desire to see Grace 
lick the dust. If he had the management of 
public opinion at that juncture, Miss Moffat 
should be permitted an independent income, 
though, of course, the bulk of her money 
must be distributed for the public good. 

Although she was of age, Grace had not 
yet been able to carry out her more juvenile 
project of spending her wealth in benefiting 
her country. There are practical difficulties 
in the way of benefiting a country impossible 
to guess, till a person comes face to face with 
the problem. One of Miss Moffat's impedi- 
ments was the spirit of the times. She was 
not prepared to enrol lierself under the 



134 ^^^^ Earl's Promise. 



colours of Mr. Hanlon or any one like Mm. 
If ever she married Eobert Somerford, she 
might then be able to help the people with- 
out compromising herself. Meanwhile she 
felt no desire to become a representative 
woman. It was enough for her to help the 
poor and needy, to comfort the sorrowful, to 
provide necessaries for the sick, to soothe the 
dying, without entering into the vexed ques- 
tions which were disturbing the land. 

In the depths of her heart she loved the 
land and its inhabitants, but she distrusted 
those who were about to put all wrongs right 
by setting every one by the ears. 

Since the earl's death matters on the Glen- 
dare estates had not been progressing favour- 
ably. The new earl was abroad, and the state 
of his health prevented any satisfactory settle- 
ment of disputed claims. 

The demagogues had it all their own way. 
IN"© one could contradict their statements. 
Having always maintained that he personally 
knew nothing of any private transactions 
which might or might not have taken place 



The People^ s Friend, 135 

l)etween the late earl and some of his tenants, 
Mr. Dilly wn could not now take up arms on 
behalf of his late employer, and tell Mr. 
Hanlon and the remainder of that clique they 
were propagating falsehoods by the score. 

All the sins, actual and imputed, of the 
Glendares since their first advent in Ireland, 
were resuscitated for the purpose of rounding 
sentences more eloquently, of enabling Mr. 
Hanlon and his friends to deliver themselves 
of more passionate bursts of oratory. 

The better classes were becoming anxious. 
Let the dead man and his dead ancestors 
have been what they would, it was felt that 
decency ought to forbid such attacks on those 
whose voices were silenced for ever. 

Lord Ardmorne had won golden opinions 
from gentlemen of all creeds and shades of 
politics, by protesting at a public meeting 
against the intemperance of Mr. Hanlon's 
observations — the utter irrelevance of his 
remarks. 

^^ No one," said his lordship, ^' can accuse 
me of being a partisan of that family which 



136 TJic EarVs Proviisc. 

the last speaker misses no oj^portunity of 
vilifying. In theory and practice I have been 
opposed to the Earls of Glendare all my life. 
Their ways were not my ways ; their thoughts, 
and ideas, and opinions diifered from mine; 
but having admitted so much, I go on to 
declare that nothing shall induce me to con- 
tinue to preside over a meeting where such 
licence of language prevails — where the dead 
are dragged out of their graves to be gibed at 
and reviled — where the sorrow and the 
suffering of the living fail to restrain the 
buffoonery of a too facile tongue — where 
misfortune is spoken of with a taunt, and griefs 
are considered fit matters for jest ! If such 
remarks are persisted in, I shall at once vacate 
tlie chair." 

After that public rebuke, it might have 
been imagined Mr. Hanlon would transfer 
his attack from the Glendares to the Marquis. 
On the contrary, however, he was wise enough 
to swallow the compulsory pill with a good 
grace. 

He apologized in a manner not destitute of 



The People's Friend. 137 

tact for his indiscretion, and was happy 
enough to be able at the same time to wing 
a side-shaft at his censor, by saying in a tone 
of contrite humility, ''He was aware he had 
been guilty of bad taste of speaking ill of one 
nobleman in the presence of another," — a 
remark which, as it cut two ways, was re- 
ceived with applause — genuine and derisive. 
'' If it were a necessity for some to be rolling 
in wealth, while others had not a crust to eat, 
he could wish all rich men were such as their 
noble chairman, or better — supposing that 
possible." 

Altogether Mr. Hanlon held his own whilst 
seeming to yield, but he respected Lord 
Ardmorne for his straightforwardness and plain 
speaking. 

''Unlike the Somerfords, who always left 
their dirty work to be done by somebody 
else," he said, when subsequently discussing 
the scene with one who held opinions similar 
to his own ; " why, Eobcrt Somerford was 
standing by all the time, and never opened 
his lips." 



138 The EarPs Promise, 



"Wliicli was indeed quite true, and had 
already caused much unfavourable comment, 
but then, as Mr. Eobert remarked, — 

^' I have never agreed with the policy of 
our family, and much of theii' practice seems 
to me utterly indefensible." 

^^ Still," urged Grace Moffat, ^' you surely 
might have found some word to speak." 

" Ardmorne said all and more in my opinion 
than was necessary," Mr. Somerford replied. 
^'Hanlon's a fool! why should I gratify him 
by replying to his folly ? " 

Which was plausible enough and sensible 
enough too for that matter, but Grace heard 
the sentence with a pain at her heart which 
had been coming and going for a long time 
past, but which came more frequently and 
was less swift about taking its departure as 
week followed Aveek, and month succeeded to 
month. 

She was beginning to doubt Mr. Somerford ; 
to think that, making every allowance for his 
uncertain prospects, his dependent position, 
his dread of seeming a mere fortune-hunter 



TJie People's Friend. 139 



(a character of which, he had often expressed 
his abhorrence), he had not acted quite fairly 
by her. 

Other men gave her at least the chance of 
saying no. Not so Mr. Somerford. Her 
prejudices against marrying and giving in 
marriage might be the same at twenty-four 
as at seventeen, but it was absurd to think of 
a man honestly playing at the game of fast 
and loose for all the years during which he 
had been her constant and devoted admirer. 

Precisely as she had treated John Eiley, so 
Eobert Somerford was treating her, and Grace 
was beginning to think^very seriously over 
his position and hers. She had done so often 
since the day of the earl's funeral. She was 
trying to see what she ought to do, how she 
ought to act. Instinctively she felt affairs 
could not remain as they were. 

Two lives now only intervened between Mr. 
Somerford and the earldom ; two lives held 
by feeble tlireads, the strands of which might 
any day give way. The fact w^as well known 
in Kingslough ; it was discussed over every 



140 The EarPs Promise. 

tea-table, and friends with the same frankness 
which had distinguished their utterances in 
days gone by were now asking Miss Moffat 
when she meant to become My Lady. 

And yet Mr. Somerford had never once 
alluded to the possibility either of his attain- 
ing to the peerage or of her assuming a title. 
Delicacy might of course have restrained him 
in the one case as in the other, but there are 
times in life when delicacy may be a little over- 
strained, and Grace had arrived at the con- 
clusion that if Mr. Somerford ever meant to 
take her into his confidence, it was high time 
he commenced. 

Would she marry him if he asked her? 
Miss Moffat was quite old enough, and quite 
sufficient woman of the world to put this 
question to herself, and answer it, but, even 
mentally, she turned aside from a direct 
reply. 

^^ I am never likely to be tried," she said, 
fencing with the idea. " Why, in any case, 
should I marry ? Have the married people 
of my acquaintance been so happy that I should 



The People's Friend. 141 



make haste to run my head into the noose ? 
And yet if I do not marrj^, what will my life 
prove ? I shall be a comfort to my father 
for the rest of his days ; I can help the poor 
a little; I shall either die young, or else 
remain till I am old, and be courted and flat- 
tered for my money, and not be able to make 
up my mind to whom to leave it. I wish I 
could fall in love ; I wish I could like some 
one, as I think I liked Eobert Somerford when 
I was a girl. Oh dear, what a beautiful 
world this is ! "Why are we not happier and 
more contented in it ? " 

And assuredly it was a lovely scene that 
on which Miss Moff'at's eyes rested, as she 
paused on her way to the Castle Farm to take 
in the beauty of land and sea stretching below 
her. Gone were the IS'ovember mists; the 
snows and frosts of winter ; past were the 
vernal equinoxes; against a clear blue sky 
the ruins of the old abbey stood out in sharp 
distinctness ; with scarce a ripple the sea swept 
gently in upon the shore ; a burst of April 
sunshine illuminated the distant hills; the 



142 The EarPs Promise. 



fields were dappled with white lambs and 
bleating sheep ; from the chimneys of white- 
washed cottages, embosomed in trees arrayed 
in the tender foliage of the early spring, 
wreaths of smoke were ascending almost 
straight upwards ; by the wayside bubbled 
a clear, swift streamlet ; the air was filled 
with that indescribable scent which departs 
ere the hawthorn blossoms open, and is as 
surely the smell of quick, healthy vegetable 
life, as the decaying leaves of autumn are the 
smell of ISTature's death. 

Well might Grace Moffat pause, and look 
at the landscape, though she had gazed upon 
it hundreds of times previously : for is not a 
lovely view like a fair countenance ? does not 
the beauty grow and grow as each feature 
becomes more familiar ? did not those who 
knew Grace best find some fresh charm each 
time they beheld her face ? 

''A delightful morning, and a divine pro- 
spect,'' remarked some one close behind her; 
and, turning, she saw Mr. Hanlon, who had 
come across the fields from Kingslough, and 



The Peopled Fiiend. 143. 



now, leaping the narrow riv^ulet, raised his 
hat, and then held out his hand. 

^^ Have you heard the news, Miss Moifat ? 
!N'o ; I see you have not. Lady Jane Somer- 
ford is dead." 

^' And Amos Scott's old lease is out," added 
Grace, uttering the first idea suggested by the 
intelligence. 

^^ And Amos Scott's old lease is out," he 
agreed. 

^^ "What will he do now ? " she asked. 

'' If he be well advised, one of three things. 
He will rent another farm under Ardmorne as 
yearly tenant, and take his chance of being 
turned out at the next election unless he 
chooses to change his politics ; he will sell 
every stick he has and go to America, or he 
will blow his brains out. As, however, he is 
certain not to take advice, no matter how 
good, he will probably go to law or try to 
defy law and justice so called, in which case 
we may predict the final result with tolerable 
accuracy." 

*^Will not Mr. Brady come to terms? I 



144 T^^'^ ^^ 

would gladly liel^^ Scott if any arrange- 
ment could be come to. You are a friend of 
Mr. Brady, and — " 

" Pardon me/' interposed Mr. Hanlon, '^ I 
know the master of Maryville. I attended 
his children when they had scarlatina, and 
I tried my best to save the little girl who 
would die in spite of me ; but I cannot claim 
the honour of calling myself Mr. Brady's 
friend, friendship implies some congeniality 
of temperament or disposition, and I fear my 
nature will never permit of my becoming a 
sufficiently finished scoundrel to suit the taste 
of Scott's opponent." 

'• Then how does it fare with ISTettie— with 
his wife I mean ? " Grace asked eagerly. 

^^ You ask me to tell you something. Miss 
Moffat, which I do not know myself, which I 
do not want to know, of which I should not 
speak if I did know. To quote Dr. Girvan, 
a medical man should be blind and deaf while 
in a patient's house, and dumb when he comes 
out of it. Poor old man ! he is fast com- 
passing the two former states without any 



The Peoples Friejid. 145 

effort of Avill; but, indeed, lie is right in 
principle, more particularly in such a gossip- 
ing little toTVTL as Kingslough. This much I 
may say, however, without an^^ breach of 
confidence ; Mrs. Brady is an admirable wife 
— as admirable a wife as she is a devoted 
mother ; and whether she is happy or whether 
she is the reverse, no one will ever hear from 
her." 

For a moment Grace did not reply; her 
thoughts were in the far away past, with 
]S'ettie in the days when they two were never 
apart, when, if their love was not as pure 
and absorbing as that of Hermione and Eosa- 
lind, it seemed to be so. Very grievous had 
that severed friendship proved to Grace ; and 
as she stood silent tears from some hidden foun- 
tain of tenderness welled up and filled her 
eyes almost to overflowing. 

^' You were very fond of Mrs. Brady," Mr. 
Hanlon suggested; he was not possessed of 
sufficient sensitiveness, or of that which stands 
in as good stead sometimes, sufficient savoir- 
faire to appear nonobsorvant of her emotion, 

VOL. II. L 



146 The Earth Promise, 

but Grace Moffat was uot one who cared to 
wear her heart on her sleeve, and therefore 
answered quietly, — 

^^ I am so fond of her still, that the opinion 
you express of her husband grieves me more 
than I can say. And how will it fare with 
Scott?" she went on rapidly. "Surely Mr. 
Erady, let him be what he may in other re- 
spects, would not refuse to listen to reason ; 
but, if paid for it, would be willing to humour 
the fancy of a man no longer young, who 
hoped to die, as he has lived, on the Castle 
Farm. He can have no associations with the 
place. It never belonged to him nor to one 
of his family. Money, or another farm, would 
surely be as valuable in his eyes as our poor 
l^aboth's vineyard, and amongst my friends I 
am certain — " 

She paused suddenly. For a moment she 
had forgotten herself, foi gotten her anta- 
gonism against, her distrust of the man she 
was addressing ; but the look of undisguised 
admiration with which lie listened to her 
hurried sentences brought her to a stand. 



The People's Friend. 147 

'^ I must apologize for my vehemenco, Mr. 
Hanlon," she resumed, blushing as she felt 
with angry consciousness while she spoke. 
" Of course you cannot carry my proposal to 
3Ir. Brady. I will speak to my father. I 
ivill— " 

^^ I should think Mr. Somerford would be the 
best agent you could employ," interrupted 
Mr. Hanlon. 

^^ I should think it most unlikely he would 
ivish to meddle in the affairs of his most un- 
happy family," she retorted. 

^' No one would stand a better chance of 
success in persuading Mr. Brady to a dis- 
tasteful course than the future Earl of Glen- 
dare." 

^^ He may never be Earl of Glendare." She 
spoke sharply, almost rudely. 

'' What is to prevent him ? " 

''' The present Earl may live, — Mr. Somer- 
ford may die." 

He looked at her in amazement. In com- 
mon with all Ivingslough he had considered 
the marriage as settled, the engagement cer- 

L 2 



148 The EarPs Projuisc. 



tain, and yet slie spoke coolly of the possibility 
of the man dying. "Was this feminine finess- 
ing, or an unconscious evidence of indiifei^ence ? 
More interesting than the study of man's 
body was the study of man's mind to this 
self-constituted champion of the people's 



rights. 



He would study Miss Moffat — the greater 
included the less ; and, although she was but 
a woman, still he might learn something 
during the course of his investigations that 
could be turned to account in his dealings 
with men. 

" You were on your way to the Castle Farm, 
I conclude. Miss Moffat?" he said. "Will 
you allow me to walk there with you ? " 

" I was going to see Mrs. Scott," said 
Grace, "but I will turn back now — I — I 
should not like to be present when they hear 
the news;" and withour any more formal 
leave-taking she began to retrace her steps. 

For a moment Mr. Hanlon stood still, and 
watched her retreating figure. 

" It is delightful to consider," he remarked 



Tlw People's Friend. 149 



to himself, ^^how in any emergency of this 
kind, in a word, when an easy way of backing 
out of a difficulty has to be found females at 
once take refuge in the delicacy of their sex. 
She did not want to walk to the Castle Fa]*m 
with me, and so she makes a dislike to the 
sight of pain her excuse. She is a good 
woman, but the best of Eve's daughters are 
' kittle cattle ' to have any say to." 



ISO 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE MUTTERING OF THE STORM. 

Meditating that feminine problem wHcli lias- 
puzzled the heads of so many men, wise and 
foolish, Mr. Hanlon walked slowly on. 

It is a cnrious fact that the moment any one 
begins to speculate on the motives influencing 
the actions of his fellows, he at once flings 
aside as untenable the possibility that those 
alleged can be true. 

A good story has been told concerning a 
gentleman who offered a friend five guesses 
as to how a mutual acquaintance spelt ^^ cat.'^ 
The friend tried every erroneous combina- 
tion he could think of, and, each guess 



The Muttering of tJie Stonn . 151 

proving a failure, finally inquired with im- 
patience, '•'' How the deyil does the fellow spell 
it, then ? " 

^^ C A T," was the reply. 

In the same manner people are apt to go far 
a-field in order to discover causes that really 
lie immediately under their noses. Miss 
Moffat did not like Mr. Hanlon, it is true, 
but no thought of evading his companionship 
entered her mind. 

She had stated the literal truth when she 
said she should not care to be present when 
Amos Scott received the tidings of Lady Jane 
Somerford's death ; but of course Mr. Hanlon 
did not believe this, and so walked slowly on, 
full of cynical ideas anent women in general, 
and ladies in particular, with a very sufficient 
amount of bitterness towards the rich and those 
''who called themselves the gentry " added to 
the mental draught he was swallowing at the 
wish of no one in particular, unless indeed it 
might be himself. 

After a little time he heard some sound cleav- 
ing the clear, crisp air ; and, looking round to 



152 The Earl's Promise, 

ascertain whence it proceeded, he saw Miss 
Moffat following in his path with rapid steps. 

^^ You were so lost in thought I could not 
make you hear," she said, looking so honestly 
at him with her tine frank eyes, that, re- 
membering Avhat his thoughts had been, he felt 
for the moment almost ashamed of them. ^' I 
called to you a dozen times, at least. It is a 
woman's privilege to change her mind, is it 
not, Mr. Hanlon ? " she added, ^^and I have 
changed mine. I was a coward for a moment ; 
but I mean to be brave now, and go to the 
Castle Farm with you, if you are not of the 
Quaker persuasion, and will allow me to say 
yes, after having once said no/' 

Concerning this speech Mr. Hanlon felt no 
inclination to attribute underhand motives ; 
and yet the fact was that Grace having, after 
the manner of her sex, hurried to conclusions 
very rapidly, had decided she ought to be 
present when the people's friend bore the news 
of his misfortune to Amos Scott. 

^'I can do something — some trifle towards 
moderating this man's bitterness and Scott's 



The Muttering of the Storm, 153 

sorrow. Why should I spare myself? Of 
what use shall I ever be in the world if I fear 
to see grief?" and so she assumed her 
pleasantest manner; she talked naturally and 
genially, all to try to induce her companion to 
*^ moderate the rancour of his tongue," and to 
bring herself into a frame of mind likely to 
influence Mr. Scott and his wife, and to enable 
her to advise both of them for their good. 

As they walked, Mr. Hanlon propounded 
the following question to his own soul : — 

•^ Shall I make myself agreeable to this 
heiress and ask her to marry me ? Would not 
her money assist the cause I have made my 
own ? Could not I mould her ideas to mine ? 
and is there any social position to which, witli 
her as my wife, I might not aspire ? " 

To a man of his intense self- appreciation the 
very idea of such an undertaking was agreeable, 
but there were many reasons why he never 
carried it out. 

In the first place, Miss Moftat, with all her 
gracious kindness, was not an accessible 
person ; in the next, he could find no pretext 



154 ^^(^ EarPs Promise. 



for thrusting his company upon her ; further^ 
he was doubtful as to the reception which his- 
suit might meet ; and fourth and most potent 
of all reasons, he felt that the sentiments he 
entertained towards the lady were those rather 
of awe than affection. She had taken his 
measure — unconsciously perhaps, but certainly 
— and unconsciously he knew this was so. 

Upon the whole, Mr. Hanlon decided against 
the speculation. It is not always pleasant for 
a man to make love to a woman possessed of 
sufficient brains to gauge the depth of his 
character. 

There came a day when both fully under- 
stood the other; when she comprehended his 
weakness, he her strength. But that day had 
not yet dawned when, under the bright spring 
sunshine, they walked together to the Castle 
Farm. 

The external aspect of the place was not 
much changed since Mr. Moffat had driven up 
the divisional road seven years previously, but 
time had not dealt leniently with its in- 
habitants. 



The Muttering of the Storm, 155 

Mrs. Scott, standing in the doorway to give 
her visitors "kindly welcome," looked aged 
and haggard ; the elder boys and girls had the 
appearance of middle-aged men and women 
with cares npon their heads, while the 
younger children walked about with staid gait 
and set faces. 

There had been something over the place 
for years, and that something was now about 
to take definite form at last. 

" It's myself is glad to see you. Miss Grace," 
said Mrs. Scott, "and ye too, doctor," she- 
added, turning, with that never-failing courtesy 
characteristic of her country, towards Mr. 
Hanlon, "this beautiful morning, God bless it! 
Sure a day like this puts heart into one. It's 
grand weather for the crops. Amos ? he's out 
in the long field, but I will send for him. 
Miss Grace, there is a clutch of chickens off to- 
day, and one of ducks yesterday. Would you 
like to see them? It was only last night I 
was saying Miss Grace was fond of the first 
brood. But you look white and tired," she 
added suddenly; "Doctor, is not oui^ young 
lady well ? " 



156 The EarPs Promise. 

" I am well enougli in body," answered 
Grace gently, "but sick in mind, sick and sad, 
dear Mrs. Scott," and she put out her hand, 
and pressed that of the farmer's wife as she 
spoke. 

"What is it, Miss Grace?" asked the 
woman trembling ; "is it the masther? sure 
your father Avas well and hearty yesterday, 
and—" 

" It is your trouble," Miss Moffat answered ; 
" and your trouble is mine. Lady Jane is 
dead I and I am afraid for Amos — " 

"Oh, God help us ! God help us ! " cried the 
woman, as she thrcAV herself into a chair, and 
covered her head with her apron. 

" I will go and meet Amos," said Miss 
Moffat in a low tone to her companion, and, 
rising, she left the house. 

Well she knew her way to the long field, 
not an inch of the Castle Earm but was familiar 
to her ; it had been almost as much her home 
at one period as Bay view, and her heart 
sickened as she looked over the familiar land- 
scape, and thought of those who could soon 
look at it no more. 



The Muttering of the Storm. i^j 

Afar she beheld Amos Scott stridiug towards 
her, a spade over his shoulder, his left hand 
s^vinging free, his gait that of a man whose 
mind is in disorder. 

As he drew nearer she saw his face was 
flushed and his eyes bright. 

The news had already reached him. It was 
not left for her to tell. 

*' Ye've heard, Miss Grace, ye've heard ; and 
now they'll be for trying to turn me out * 
that'll be the next game, won't it, miss ? " he 
asked, stopping suddenly, and shooting the 
words at her singly, and with a might of sup- 
pressed fear and passion in his tone. 

'^ I hope not," she said; ^^I do hope and 
trust, Amos, you will leave this matter to your 
friends, and let them settle it for you." 

'' My friends," he repeated, " who are they? 
Th' airl, whose father robbed me of my money; 
Brady up yonder, Avho wants to rob me of my 
land; Dillwyn, who stands by and says, ^Hold 
hard, Scott : have at him, Brady ; ' Mr. Eobert, 
who puts his hands in his pockets and declares 
he has been as badly treated as myself? " 



158 The EarPs Promise 



'' And Grace Moifat, is she not youi' friend ?" 

^'God bless you, Miss Grace; yon are the 
friend of every man, woman, and child who 
needs help, but you cannot help me, I must 
help mj'-self." 

He was softening — at least she thought so. 

'^ Amos, I will go to Mr. Brady." 

^'Miss Moffat, I tell you it's no use; he 
has sworn to have this place ; but he sha'n't 
have it — no. Not as long as I am aboveboard, 
no man, gentle nor simple, shall own the 
Castle Farm." 

^'But you do not own it," she ventiu-ed; 
^'you only rent it." 

^' And Where's the odds, miss ? As long as 
I paid my rent and my renewals, was it not 
mine as much as th' airl's ? Did not I always 
vote for the Glendares' man, let him be who 
he liked ? Hadn't I always my rent ready, 
no matter how me and the mistress and the 
children fared ? Didn't I do justice by the 
land ? Look there, miss ; would you see 
cleaner ground or straighter furrows in the 
whole of Ireland ? I never gi'udged the dung, 



Tlic Mutter ill g of the Stonii. 159 

■even when I had to draw it from Glenwellan. 
Though I say it as shouldn't there is not a bit 
of ground better done by in the county. Me 
and my sons, haven't we worked early and 
late ? and noAV — but see there, miss, as sure as 
I stick that spade in the ground, Brady shall 
never have this land. I have took my Bible 
oath of that, and I never was one to go back 
from my Avord, let alone my oath." 

Grace shuddered, she could not help doing 
so. She knew — none better — what all this 
meant, what all this might lead to. She, born 
-and bred amongst them, understood what a 
passion for the possession of land overmasters 
the Irish ; how it hounds them on to the com- 
mission of deeds at which calmer nations stand 
appalled ; how, nearer and dearer than wife, 
child, honour, life even, an acre of daisy- 
covered turf may become. 

Involuntarily she looked toAvards the house. 
It needed no special gift of prophecy, no ex- 
traordinary amount of imagination, to prefigure 
the appearance it would present in days to 
come ; roofless, doorless, windowless, abandoned 



i6o The EarVs Proviise. 

by man and animal, a place near which, no 
child played by day, a spot no man dare pass 
at night — the vision appalled her. 

'-'- Come with me, Amos," she cried; '-'- come 
with me to yonr wife, and let ns and the 
children talk it over together." 

They walked side by side in the spring sun- 
shine, they passed into the house where Mrs. 
Scott still sat with her apron thrown over her 
head, and Mr. Hanlon, standing with his back 
to the great fire, Avas discoursing to an utterly 
inattentive audience concerning abstract f)rin- 
ciples of government, and the utterly erroneous 
policy — suicidal he called it — pursued by Eng- 
land to Ireland. 

^^ "Well, mother, and so you've heard that 
the tug of war has come ! " began Amos ex- 
citedly, without any formal greeting of his 
visitor; **'but ye needn't be feared, ye needn't 
pack up to-day. I'll have my rights. No 
earl, dead or living, shall keep my money and 
take my farm — money hard earned, honestly 
come by, more nor ever a Glendare could say. 
And Brady too — well, lie's not master here 
yet, and he never will be." 



The Muttering of the Storm. i6i 

^^It is of no use kicking against the pricks, 
Scott, my friend," said Mr. Hanlon ; *' the dead 
earl and the living rogue will be too many for 
vou in the lonor-run. You'd best take another 
farm, or, better still, sell your goods, while you 
have any to sell, and go away to a free country, 
where you and your children can have liberty 
to work for yourselves instead of for a land- 
lord ; where you can live like men instead of 
worse than dogs ; where you will be able to 
call your souls your own, and be rid of the 
yoke under which the toilers in this wretched 
country groan from the cradle to the grave." 

'^ I thank you for yer advice. Doctor ; I'm 
sure it's well meant and kindly given ; but I 
am not going to America, and I have no inten- 
tion of leaving the Castle Farm — till I am 
carried out of it feet foremost," said Scott, not 
without a certain dignity. 

"But supposing no arrangement can be 
made with Mr. Brady, Amos?" Grace began. 

^' !N"o arrangement can be made. Miss Moffat," 
interrupted Mr. Hanlon. " He is a very Shy- 
lock, he will have his pound of flesh thougli 

VOL. II. M 



1 62 The EarPs Promise. 

the fairest Portia in Ireland seek to prevent 
him." 

" I don't know rightly what you are talking 
abontj" said the poor dazed farmer ; ^' but if it 
means that Brady's going to take my home 
from me — that when it comes to the bit, Mr. 
Dillwyn and the young airl will stand by and 
see me and mine driven out to die by the 
roadside — just let him and them try it, that's 
all. I'm a man of few words, but you can all 
of you remember what I say, let them try it." 

^^But, Amos," pleaded Grace, ^^ is not one 
farm as good as another ? " 

'^ Miss Grace, I wonder to hear you!" he 
answered reproachfully. ''Would another 
wife be as good to me as her yonder ? would 
other children be as good to me as those I have 
dandled on my knee, and sat up with when 
they were sick, and 'threatened' when they 
were impudent to me and the mother, and 
given the 'tawse' to when they wouldn't do 
what they were bid ? Oh ! ye don't know — 
Lord forbid ye ever should — what a home 
means to a man of my years, that the great 



The Mtittcring of the Storm. 1 63 

of tlie land are conspiring to leave home- 
less." 

^^Poor Amos!" mm^mnred Grace, with a 
pity too deep for words welling np in her tone. 
" I think — I hope I do understand what you 
feel; still place ought not to be so dear as 
people. If I had to leave Bay view to-morrow . 
I believe — I feel certain I could in time learn 
to love another place almost as much." 

^' Ay, but then you are a woman, and that 
makes all the differ," commented Mr. Scott, 
with that sublime contempt for the sex which, 
spite of their gallantry, is a fundamental cha- 
racteristic of his class in Ireland. 

^' That is quite true," she answered, with a 
faint smile. '^ I am only a woman ; if I were 
a man, I would try to do more to help 3'ou. 
As it is, I do not want to see you break your 
own and your wife's heart for no good purpose. 
Come, Amos, be persuaded ; let me look you 
out a farm. It shall not cost you a penny to 
go from the one place to the other." 

^^ And let the young airl keep the money his 
father robbed me of; and let Brady laugh and 

M 2 



164 The EarVs Promise. 

say, ^ I got the best of him, as I have of every- 
body else'? No, faith, if he laughs when he 
has done with me, it'll be on the wrong side 
of his mouth I'm thinking." 

^^ Why not go away, then, where it cannot 
matter whether he laughs or cries ? Land is 
cheap enough in America; and you may be 
your own tenant, and landlord too for that 
matter. You might found a family there, and 
be a great proprietor before you die." 

^^You mean well. Miss Grace, and I am 
beholden to you; but you don't understand. 
I'd rather have my own bit of ground here, 
that I know every rood of, than own the whole 
of Canada. What would I do among strangers 
and foreigners ? It is not much I want — only 
my rights, and I'll have them," he went on, 
lashing himself up into sudden fury. ^^ Come, 
mistress, what are ye sitting for there, and the 
work all standing ? and what am I doing here, 
talking foolishness, while the men and the 
horses are idle in the field ? Good morning, 
Miss Grace, and thank you kindly, and you too, 
Doctor, and if ye see Brady, and me and my 



The Muttering of the Storm, 1 65 

farm come up, ye can tell him Amos Scott is 
not going to be put upon or turned out of tlie 
land he paid his golden guineas for to him 
that's dead and gone.'' 

Having delivered his mind of which speech, 
the farmer hurried out of the house, followed 
by some of the younger children. 

When he was gone, Mrs. Scott put down 
her apron, and drew her hand wearily over her 
eyes, that ached because no tears would come. 

^^Ye'll excuse him,'' she said, speaking to 
both her visitors, but addressing her remarks 
more especially to Grace; ''he is not himself. 
He is just out of his mind with trouble. He 
has been a changed man since th'airl died, 
and the young lord went away without putting 
the wrong right . Everything is going to the 
bad with us. What the end of it will be, I 
don't know, I'm sure I don't !" 

" I wish Amos would listen to reason," said 
Grace, with a sigh. 

''What is the use of his fighting when he 
has got money, and rank, and law, and power 
all against him? " observed Mr. Hanlon. 



1 66 TJic Eaj'Vs Promise, 



'^ Ah ! Miss, as lie says, you don't under- 
stand ; what seems reason to you, sounds like 
folly to him ; and as for every body and thing 
being against him. Doctor, each word you say 
concerning that makes him madder. A lion in 
a cage could not be worse nor him when any- 
body speaks to him about having to leave the 
old place and see Brady get it." 

'^ But it is not the first time by many the 
same thing has been done," urged Mr. Hanlon. 
^'Eenewal fees have been taken time after 
time on this estate, and the people who paid 
fought the matter out, and ruined themselves 
just as Scott will do." 

" Somebody must win,^ Su%" she answered, in 
unconscious" vindication of her husband's tactics. 

" I think I had better go now," suggested 
Miss Moffat. ^^ It seems to me we are work- 
ing more harm than good. After a few days, 
perhaps, Amos wdll come to Bayview, and let 
me know what he intends doing." 

"^ I have to call at Maryville," said Mr. 
Hanlon, looking at Grace as though he ima- 
gined she might regret his inability to accom- 
pany her home. 



The Muttering of the Sto^^m, 167 

'' Any one ill there ? " inquired Miss 
Moffat. 

'' The youngest boy is ailing a little." 
^^What terrible bad health Mrs. Brady's 
children have, to be sure !" exclaimed Mrs. 
Scott. 

'-'- Yes," answered Mr. Hanlon with a laugh: 
'' Doctor Girvan says the young ones about 
Xingslough were strong enough when he had 
more to do with them. Inference obvious." 

"Is Maryville a healthy place?" asked 
Miss Moffat, looking straight into Mr. Han^ 
Ion's face. 

"Pretty well for some people, not for 
women and children, I should say." 

His meaning was obvious, at least so Grace 
decided; "I must know something about 
I^ettie," she thought. 

" I will tell Mrs. Brady I have had the 
pleasure of meeting you," said Mr. Hanlon, 
as if guessing what was passing through her 
mind. 

"Yes, please do," cried Grace eagerly; 
" and tell her how sorry I am to hear of her 
little boy's illness." 



1 68 The EarVs Promise. 



When next Miss Moffat met Mr. Hanlon, 
she asked, — 

^^Did you give my message to Mrs. 
Brady ? " 

" I did," he answered, with a curious smile. 

^^ And what did she say ? " 

^^ Nothing," he replied, adding, as Miss 
Moffat turned red and tried to help looking 
annoyed, "that is about the extent of Mrs. 
Brady's conversation with any one. She listens 
when she is obliged to listen, and answers 
when she cannot well avoid doing so." 

"Poor Nettie!" said Grace involuntarily, 
and she fancied she heard her companion 
mutter, — 

" Poor indeed ! " 

Before Miss Moffat reached the end of the 
divisional road on her way homeward from 
Amos Scott's, she heard hasty footsteps follow- 
ing, and, looking back, saw the farmer's eldest 
son striding after her. 

" Could I speak a word to you. Miss Grace?" 
he asked. 

" As many as you like," she answered. 



TJie Muttering of the Storm. 169 

and at once took her seat on a large stone 
lying close at hand, to show him she was in 
no haste, but could listen to all he had to 
say. 

During the interview at his own home the 
young man had sat on a settle near the fire, 
his body bent forward, his head drooping, his 
hands clasped. He never opened his lips, he 
never lifted his eyes save once, and that was 
to look at Mr. Hanlon. 

Now, however, the spell seemed broken, 
and he began eagerly, — 

^'Miss Grace, will you help me to go to 
America ? " 

^' You, David — without your father?" 

"Yes, Miss, he'll never go — leastways, I 
don't believe he will; and my heart is just 
broke, to see things going on as they are at 
home. "What for should I not go ? If I stay 
here, I'll have to hire myself as a labourer — 
maybe to Brady. Father '11 fight him till we 
haven't a bed left to lie on. Since the earl 
died he has been like a man possessed. He 
carries on about the Glendares and Brady till 



lyo The EarPs Promise. 



I'm fairly sick and tired of hearing their 
names. I don't say bnt he has been badly 
treated. It was a stocking full of money he 
gave the earl ; but, as Mr. Dillwyn says, if he 
was so foolish as to let his hard earnings slip 
through his fingers on the strength of a bit of 
a promise, he must take the consequences." 

^^You must not speak so disrespectfully of 
your father," said Grace severely ; ^' it is not 
right." 

'' I did not intend any disrespect, Miss," he 
answered. ''I'd do as much — I have worked 
as hard for him as a son could ; but I'm not a 
child, and I can't shut my eyes to what must 
come of all this. He won't leave, and Brady 
will take the law of him, and we'll all be 
brought to beggary. He was headstrong 
enough before Mr. Hanlon came to Kingslough 
— ^bad luck to the day he left his own part of 
the country — but to hear him discoursing now, 
anybody might think he was distraught. 
What is the use of talking about wrongs un- 
less they can be put right ? Maybe, Miss, 
you consider I am speaking wild-like, but I 



The Muttering of the Stoinn. 171 

sometimes feel as if I was going crazy myself. 
Once we could eat our stir-about* and potatoes 
in peace, but now I often have to leave my 
breakfast and dinner for fear I should be 
tempted to say something that might put a 
division between us." 

^^ Oh, David," she cried, ^' do stop, please, 
you hurt me I When I think — when I think 
of the happiness and contentment I have seen 
in your home, I feel as if I could not realize 
the present misery — as if I would do any- 
thing, give anything to put matters straight." 

'^ And when I think, Miss," he rejoined, ^^I 
feel as if I could go up to Maryville, and shoot 
Brady on his own door-step, — and I would too 
if it could do us any good." 

^^ Do not talk in that wicked, reckless way," 
said Grace ; " it was not Mr. Brady's fault that 
the late earl took your father's money." 

^^It was his fault, taking the land at any 
rate," returned the young man doggedly. 
^^ What did he want with it ? Wasn't there 
farms to be had in plenty without ours ? Was 

'•' Oatmeal porridge. 



172 The EarPs Promise, 

it fair dealing to make a bid for it over my 
father's head, turning an honest family out of 
house and home ? I never hear our minister 
read that chapter about the man who had a 
vineyard he wouldn't sell, or about that other 
who had only one yow*-lamb, but it puts me 
in mind of our farm and Brady. "We had but 
one vineyard, and I misdoubt me much if it 
doesn't cost my father his life. We had only 
one yow-lamb, and he wants that from us." 

His voice quivered as he spoke ; the passion 
and pathos of his country lent eloquence to his 
words, homely though they were ; and tears, 
which she could not restrain, coursed slowly 
down Miss Moffat's cheeks at the picture of a 
shattered home presented to her. 

Amos could never make another ; she clearly 
understood that if by no effort the Castle Farm 
could be preserved, his future presented no 
prospect but that of utter shipwreck. She 
could see the misery, the poverty, the certain 
ruin, the possible crime, but she could perceive 
no way of averting the calamity. 

* Ewe. 



The Muttering of the Storm. 173 

Her will, lier money, her influence, were 
powerless here. A wrong had been committed 
which only one man living could put right, a 
wrong which, simple as it seemed, made her 
for the moment marvel how the earl could rest 
in his grave, considering the wretchedness his 
act had wrought. IS'ever before had she 
touched that hard spot in the Irish nature 
which has puzzled the most thoughtful of 
psychologists, and baffles the wisdom of 
the wisest statesmen, which not time, or 
experience, or kindness, or remonstrance 
can soften, and which seems as indifferent 
to severe treatment as it is insensible to 
gentle handling. 

Had any one told her a year previously that 
Amos Scott would turn a deaf ear to her 
entreaties, her advice, her offers of assistance, 
she must have laughed outright; and yet, 
behold, it was not more than an hour since she 
walked up to the farm with Mr. Hanlon, and 
already she felt herself beaten. 

As she could not help Amos to what he 
wanted, he Avould not have her help at all. 



174 The EarPs Promise, 



She was powerless to give him the Castle 
Farm, and consequently lie turned liis back 
both on her assistance and her advice. 

She had thought, in her ignorance, money 
and the will to give it could effect almost any- 
thing ; and yet here was a case where it could 
effect nothing, literally nothing, unless Mr. 
Erady could be bought off. 

She would try if that were possible. It was 
a forlorn hope, but it was a hope nevertheless. 
She would see Mr. Dillwyn and Mr. Somerford, 
and, if need be, Mr. Brady himself; and she 
was planning the form of words she should 
use, when her short reverie was broken by 
David, — 

'-^ So, Miss, when I heard you speaking so 
kind and sensible, I made up my mind I w^ould 
ask you to lend me enough to go away. I can 
be of no sort of use here. If I stay, I may do 
an injury to myself or somebody else. I have 
long had it in my mind — months, — ever since 
the earl lay a-dying." 

^'But I thought you were going to be 
married ? " suggested Miss Moffat. 



The Muttering of the Storm, 175 

^^I am ^speaking' to Maggie Lennen; but 
I'll never many her, Miss, if I can't better 
myself. She'll Trait for me, and when I am 
able to send for her, she'll come out; and 
then^ if things go as I am feared they will, I 
can spare a pound now and then to my 
mother." 

^' And you would leave her to bear all this 
trouble alone ? " 

^^She won't be alone; she has the rest of 
them. I wish we were every one of us 
sailing to-morrow ; but as that can't be, 
I'll go. I have made up my mind. Miss 
Grace, whether you lend me the money or 
not." 

^^ I will not say ' yes,' neither will I say 
^ no ' to-day. I will think over what you have 
told me, and see whether nothing can be done 
for your father. I am more grieved for his 
trouble than words can tell." 

^^Ah ! Miss Grace ; its yourself had always 
a kind heart. If the old man didn't seem to 
set a right value on your goodness to-day, it 
was only because he is not just himself. He's 



176 TJie EarPs Proinise. 

that throng* with sorrow, he can't fairly under- 
stand ; but the time will come when he'll mind 
it all. I don't say much, and mother she says 
nothing; but Ave feel. If our heart's blood 
could serve you, there is not one of us but 
would give it. There is nothing father would 
not do for you, letting alone leaving the 
farm." 

^'I think that is always the way, David," 
she said, with a mournful smile. ^'The 
^ except ' is generally the one request Ave make. 
Suppose, noAV, I Avere to ask you, as a personal 
favour to myself, to remain Avith your parents ; 
you would say, ^ I will do anything for you. 
Miss Grace, but that.' " 

^^I would not," he ansAvered vehemently. 
'^ If you bid me stay, I'll stay." 

'^I Avill neither bid you stay nor go," she 
replied, ^'till I have talked the matter over 
with people older and Aviser than I am." 

And so saying, she rose and wended her 
steps sloAvly homcAA^ards. 

* Busy. 



The Muttering of the Storm. 177 

^^You may find people older, and maybe 
wiser than yourself, Miss Grace," soliloquized 
the young man, as he watched her retreating 
figure, ^^ but ye'll never find anybody better, 
search the wide world through." 



VOL. 11. 



178 



CHAPTER VII. 

FEET OF CLAY. 

It is not the fashion generally to admit the 
fact, and yet a great deal of disappointment 
might be spared the rising generation were 
parents, guardians, and others to assure them 
no money yields such poor interest as that in- 
vested in philanthropic pursuits. 

There may be many reasons for this besides 
the innate wickedness of mankind, but one 
seems sufficient for the present purpose. 

Taking philanthropy as a rule, we find it 
desires not merely to help its fellow, but to 
help him in its own way ; and as there is pro- 
bably nothing more difficult to do than this, 



Feet of Clay. 179 



when the good intended and the good effected 
— when the gratitude due and the' gratitude 
received come to be balanced — the well-meaning 
benefactor generally finds himself considerably 
poorer, and no one else very much the better 
than if he had been content to leave well 
alone. 

Truth is, kindly disposed persons are apt to 
imagine that money has the power of conferring 
upon them the position of a sort of minor Pro- 
vidence ; and then, when the events they have 
influenced, and the changes they have wrought, 
turn out to have worked together for anything 
rather than good, they are inclined to become 
misanthropical. 

Few men who benefit their fellows have the 
slightest idea of leaving them free-will ; and 
when free-will rises and asserts itself, philan- 
thropy is very naturally disgusted at such a 
display of ingratitude. 

Perhaps when those who give and those who 
help, give and help merely because it is right 
to do both, and not because they expect thanks 
or return, doing good may prove a more useful 

n2 



i8o The EarPs Promise. 

and pleasant pursuit than is generally the case 
at present. 

[N'o idea of exorbitant interest in the shape 
of either thanks or gratitude had influenced 
Grace Moffat in any of the eftbrts she made to 
ameliorate the condition of the men and women 
by whom she was surrounded ; nevertheless, it 
was scarcely in human nature to avoid feeling 
a sort of sick disappointment when she came 
calmly to review the incidents of her visit to 
the Castle Farm. 

With all her heart she desired to set matters 
straight for Amos Scott ; but the longer she 
thought, the more difficult the task appeared. 

She had little hope that Mr. Brady would 
relinquish his claim. She could not see in 
what way either Mr. Dillwyn or Mr. Somerford 
might help her in the affair. In any event 
she was not sufficiently strong-minded to apply 
to one of the three, without first taking some 
friend into her confidence, and friends likely 
to take the slightest interest in the farmer's 
concerns had passed beyond Grace's reach. 
She had her father, however, and although 



Feet of Clay. i8l 



his views on all such subjects were well known 
to her, she determined to consult him. 

For love of any abstract principle of right, 
or any general affection for his fellow-creatures, 
she was perfectly aware he would not lift a 
finger ; for love of her, however, he might be 
moved to exertion ; at any rate, she would 
try. 

She chose the best hour in the day for her 
attack — that when the cloth was removed, and 
the dessert reflected itself from the face of a 
shining mahogany table — when the door was 
closed, and the servant gone, and the wine 
placed near the elbow of Mr. Moffat's chair. 

A bright fire blazed on the hearth ; no sound 
broke the stillness, save an occasional gust of 
wind blowing amongst the trees. Mr. Moffat 
liked the fire, and the perfect sense of solitude. 
He sat looking into the blaze for a few 
minutes, and then, turning to his daughter, 
remarked, — 

'^ You are very quiet this evening, Grace ; 
are you not well ? " 

" Yes," she replied, " but I am troubled and 



1 82 The EarPs Promise. 

vexed and perplexed. I want to consult you, 
papa ; may I ?" 

"Certainly, my dear, having already, no 
doubt, made up your mind whether you man to 
say yes or no." 

She smiled and coloured. "I think I have 
come to an end of my suitors," she answered. 
"It is quite six months since any one made 
love to my fortune. I am not in a perplexity 
of that kind, bu,t I am greatly troubled about 
poor Amos Scott." 

" "What is wrong with him now ? " 

" Lady Jane Somerford is dead, and the land 
consequently belongs to Mr. Brady." 

"Well?" Mr. Moffat's tone was not 
encouraging. Truth is, feeling a certain 
amount of self-reproach at not having 
interested himself in the smallest degree 
about Mr. Scott's affairs when that interest 
might have proved beneficial, he would now 
have preferred ignoring the subject altogether. 

^Nevertheless, when Grace remained silent, 
he repeated his inquiring "Well?" with a 
slight access of irritability. 



Feet of Clay. 183 



'-'- Dear pa23a," slie said gravely, ^^ if it vexes 
you to hear me talk of these things, say so, 
and I will be silent, only — only — if I may not 
come to yon for advice in my trouble and per- 
plexity, where can I go ? " 

He stretched out his hand, and drew her to- 
wards him. ^^ Gracie darling, talk away, and 
I will help and advise you if I can ; but I am 
old, and you are young ; and young people 
think it an easy matter to put the world right, 
and we old people know it cannot be done. 
That is all. If you will make allowance for 
me, I will for you. Now say on." 

^^Amos does not want to leave his farm," 
she began, after kissing him. 

''J^atm^ally — no Irishman ever did," was 
Mr. Moffat's comment on this announcement. 

''Do you think there is any chance of his 
being able to remain ? " 

''IN'ot the slightest; Brady has law on 
his side, and he is not the man to forego his 
rights — at least, so I am assured. Of the man 
I myself know nothing, and want to know 
nothing." 



184 The EarVs Projiiisc, 

^^ But do you not tMnk, if it was made worth 
his while to forego them, he might do so?" 
she asked. 

"Meaning, I suppose — do I not think, if 
soft-hearted Grace Moffat liked to make herself 
hy some hundreds of pounds a poorer woman 
than she is to-night, would Mr. Brady give up 
the Castle Farm ? No, my dear, I do not ; 
Mr. Brady has, as I understand, many un- 
desirable qualities. Amongst others he is 
intensely Irish — using that expression in its 
most disparaging sense. I do not mean that 
he is Irish in impulsiveness, recklessness, 
generosity or folly ; but he is Irish in cunning, 
in hatred, in revenge, in acquisitiveness, in 
every undesirable quality the worst classes in 
Ireland hold in common. He has been waiting 
for this land for years; grudging Scott his 
possession, and yet gloating over every stone 
the poor wretch laid, one on the top of another, 
for his (Brady's) benefit. You may give up 
the notion, Grace ; money will not give Scott 
back the Castle Farm." 

" Do you not think the Glendares might ? " 



Feet of Clay, 185 



^'You can try, Gracie." Mr. Moffat said 
this very drily. 

^' I mean do you not think Mr. Brady might 
be susceptible to the influence of rank ? " 

^^ I do not exactly see how rank is to use its 
influence," was the reply; ''and, if I did, I 
believe Mr. Brady would talk rank over." 

'' You have not much opinion of the Glendare 
strength of character," she said, as though in 
jest. 

''Perhaps I have not much opinion of any 
part of the Glendare character," he answered 
bitterly. "However, that is a question we 
need not discuss to-night. If I understand 
you rightly, you thought, perhaps, some mem- 
ber of that family might exert his or her in- 
fluence over Mr. Brady. Suppose the experi- 
ment worth trying — who is to try it? Not 
the young earl, who is dying, no doubt, with 
a rapidity commendable in the eyes of the next 
heir, who, in his old age, it is said is seriously 
considering matrimony ; not that next heir, 
who, whether earl or not, will never consider any 
human being except himself; not Lady Glen- 



1 86 The EarPs Pro77iise. 

dare, whose star has waned; not Mr. Eobert 
Somerford — " 

^^ Why not ? " Grace inquired. 

" Well, I am sure I can scarcely say why," 
returned her father. ^^ Try him, my dear ; 
ask him to use his influence; perhaps he 
might, if he has any. Perhaps Mr. Erady 
might be influenced by him. Mr. Somerford 
has received a certain amount of kindness from 
us during the last seven years; perhaps he 
would not object to do us a trifling kindness 
in return. It is all problematical, Grace. I 
have not much faith in its satisfactory solution, 
but you can try." 

There was a pause, during which Grace sat 
with her cheek resting on her hand, her 
thoughts straying over many subjects, and not 
one pleasant subject amongst the number. 

'^ Is there not such a thing as equity ? " she 
inquired at length. 

^' Do you mean in law or in j^ublic opinion ?" 
asked her father. 

'' In law." 

^' There is a thing called equity." 



Feet of Clay. 187 



'' Would it not lielp Amos ? " 

'^ Most decidedly not. Nothing can help 
him. IN'o person can help him unless he like 
to help himself." 

^^ How can he do that?" 

'^He made a mistake once by acting on his 
impulses ; he had better not make a second by 
following his impulses again. He has had a 
long, long term of his farm, but now he will 
have to leave it, and he ought to leave it 
peaceably. He cannot fight with the least 
chance of winning. If the dead earl came 
back to life, he could not remedy the wrong 
wrought by his carelessness. Scott might 
establish a claim against him, if the fact of 
ever having received money could be recalled 
to the memory of a Glendare ; but money is 
not what Scott wants ; he wants his farm, and 
all the king's horses and all the king's men 
could not give it to him. Brady is the only 
man who could, and he won't ; and the sooner 
Scott realizes that fact, the better for him and 
all belonging to him." 

^^ You think his case hopeless, then ? " 



1 88 The EarPs Promise, 

^' Utterly — so far as his present holding is 
concerned. There are other farms — " 

^'Yes," she said, '^ but the Castle Farm is 
to him just what I am to you.'' 

For a minute after neither spoke. Involun- 
tarily Mr. Moffat's thoughts sped back to that 
bright summer's day when first he heard of the 
Earl's Promise, and never thought of asking a 
question concerning it. 

If he had known then, by one sentence he 
might have averted the misery now close at 
hand. He might have asked, ^'What have 
you got to slioAV for this ? where is the earl's 
receipt ? where his promise in any shape that 
shall avail you hereafter ? " 

He might, with his knowledge of the world 
and its weary, wicked ways, have stood between 
this poor, hard-working, trusting son of the 
soil, and ruin. It all came back to him, as 
past sorrows sometimes do, in a bad dream, 
with their anguish fresh as at the original 
moment. It all came back : what he might 
have done — what he had left undone. The 
years returned, each one laying a reproach at 



Feet of Clay. 189 



his feet ere gliding away to give place to its 
successor. 

He saw liis motherless child returning bright 
and happy from her visits to the Castle Farm ; 
he beheld the honest faces of those from whom 
she had never learnt harm — nothing but good ; 
he could recall the words in which she recounted 
the day's doings, when she went to visit the 
Scotts, clearly as if it had all happened yester- 
day ; he could see her bringing back treasures 
for him to inspect, turning out her little pocket 
that he might look at all she had got. 

And when she was ill of some childish dis- 
order, had not Mrs. Scott left her own home to 
come and help nurse her ? Through all the 
years, had the love and respect and admiration 
they felt for his darling ever abated ? 

Ah ! well-a-day ! Oh ! tiring, harassing 
memory ! 

'^ Grace — " he began. 

^^Yes, papa!" she said, waking from her 
reverie with a start. 

"I am not a demonstrative man ; I do not 
talk in a general way about what I feel ; but 



190 The EarPs Promise. 

if money could enable Scott to stay where he 
is, money should not be wanting." 

The truth of this statement was not likely to 
be put to the test, but Grace knew he meant 
what he said — every word. 

"If anything could make me happy to- 
night," she murmured, " that assurance would ; 
but, oh, papa, it is dreadful to think what may 
come of all this, and we powerless to avert the 
evil ! " 

"Ay, Gracie, it is," he answered. "Ey 
the time you are my age you will know there 
are many evils we are powerless to avert. 
But now listen to me, child : speak to Eobert 
Somerford, and see what he will do in the 
matter. If that fail, I will see what I can do 
myself." 

She did not reply to him verbally ; she only 
took his hand, and stroked and kissed it. 

"Eemember," he went on, with a sudden 
change of tone, "I am now acting in entire 
opposition to my own principles. I have 
always believed in letting other people manage 
their own affairs, in allowing them to get into 



Feet of Clay. igi 



difficulties if they please, and getting out of 
them as they can. My opinion about Ireland 
has always been that her misfortunes arise as 
much from the laxity as the severity of her 
landlords. I consider the whole system of 
tenant-right a mistake. I have been, and am, 
utterly at a loss to conceive why the fact of a 
man having rented a farm for a certain number 
of years, during which he has probably ex- 
hausted the land, and allowed the house and 
outbuildings to fall into decay, should entitle 
him, and his children after him, to a renewal 
of the lease. I do not see, if I were a landlord 
— which happily I am not — why, supposing I 
prefer one tenant who applies for a farm rather 
than another, the one I prefer should have his 
ricks burned down or find his best mare ham- 
strung. I do not see the beauty of charity ; 
in my opinion it benefits neither him who gives 
nor him who receives — " 

" Oh fie, papa ! " she exclaimed. 

'-^ My dear, I only speak the truth. What 
good to themselves or any one else are those 
sturdy and picturesque beggars who come to 



192 The EarVs Promise. 

you as regularly for their Saturday's dole as if 
they were annuitants, or had worked for a 
week's wages ? " 

^^ I would rather give them wages," she said ; 
'-^ but what am I to do ? " 

^^I do not interfere with your almsgiving, 
Grace ; nevertheless it seems to me that whilst 
you are relieving distress, you are perpetuating 
an evil." 

^^Do you really believe," she asked, "that 
the little I give away does me no good ? " 

" I hope it does you no harm — that is the 
utmost I can say. I do not think it a wise 
thing to assist in pauperizing a nation." 

" But we are expressly told that the poor 
shall be with us always." 

" Granted; but you do not mean, I suppose, 
to interpret the poor into professional beggars ? 
I am not much interested in Ireland or the 
Irish; most persons would call me, and call 
me truly, an unobservant man ; yet there are 
things passing every day before me to which I 
cannot shut my eyes ; which you, Grace, would 
see as plainly as I if you did not wilfully shut 



Feet of Clay. 



your eyes. First of all, I behold a number of 
landlords who reside principally out of Ireland, 
for the very good reason that they prefer living 
in London, or Paris, or Florence, or Vienna, 
wherein they show their discrimination. Im- 
mediately there is a cry about the evils of 
absenteeism, the popular idea being that if a 
man resides in Ireland he must of necessity 
spend his income in Ireland likewise, just as 
though any English duke, or earl, or baronet 
spent the whole of his income at his country- 
seat." 

^^ Don't you think there is a little differ- 
ence between the two cases?" said Grace. 
^^ If the Irish landlords resided in Dublin, for 
instance — " 

''My dear gM, do you suiDpose that would 
satisfy tenantry residing in the north ? What 
the malcontents really want is to have the 
'good old times' back again; when there was 
open house and a ' bite and sup ' for everybody, 
broken victuals for the beggars, and a ' drain 
of whiskey and a cut of mate' for persons 
supposed to be ' earning their bread,' whom 

VOL. II. 



194 The EarPs Promise. 

chance, design, or necessity led into kitchens, 
the doors of which always stood wide. To 
put it in a sentence, people are now living 
almost at the end of a system, and they want 
to go back to the beginning of it, to the time 
when there was plenty of money instead of 
beggary ; to the commencement of borrowing, 
and mortgaging, and taking credit, instead of 
paying back, and banki'uptcy, and no money, 
no goods ; to the wild, reckless youth of fami- 
lies which are now expiating in unhonoured 
old age the sins and the follies of that far- 
away time." 

There was truth in the picture he drew, and 
his daughter felt it ; but the truth was bitter, 
the picture too faithful in detail to be perfectly 
life-like in fact. 

^'But surely people are not to be blamed 
because they look back to the good old times 
with regret, and wish they could all come 
over again?" said Grace, whose imagination 
had often held high revel amongst those past 
days and doings of which her father spoke so 
contemptuously. 



Feet of Clay. 195 



^'Were they good old times?" lie asked, 
with iiiiwonted animation. ^' By the grain 
men reap, by the fruit they gather, we can 
tell the sort of seed, the manner of tree which 
was sowed and planted by those who went 
before. There was wild sowing, there has 
been bitter reaping, and there will be reaping 
still more bitter before Ireland becomes the 
paradise patriots (so-called) conjure up before 
the imagination of an excitable, passionate, 
dissatisfied people." 

'^ What would benefit Ireland, papa ? " 

^^How can I tell, child? Can the work 
of centuries be undone in a day ? can the edu- 
cation of generations be unlearned at the word 
of command ? If the country and the people 
be let alone, perhaps they may do something 
for themselves, but I am extremely doubtful 
about the matter ; it very rarely happens that 
those who have been for eleven hours praying, 
entreating, cursing, threatening in order to 
obtain help, turn round at the twelfth and 
help themselves." 

" How prejudiced you arc!" she said, but 

o2 



ig6 The EarVs Promise. 

sorrowfully holding his hand the while ; '' you 
only look at the faults, you never think of the 
virtues and the Avrongs." 

^^My dear Grace, if there be one thing I 
dislike more than another, it is the use of cant 
expressions. That is probably the reason why 
I have always eschewed mixing myself up in 
political matters. There is something par- 
ticularly offensive to me in the war-cries of 
party; and, speaking confidentially, I object 
quite as much to the music of '- Yinegar Hill ' 
as of ^ Protestant Boys.' You have managed 
to adopt some cant phrases, as for instance, 
that you used just now. Tell me, if you can, 
what are Ireland's wrongs." 

'''- The poverty, the distress, the misery."* 

^* Anything else ?" 

^' The way in which the Irish are looked down 
upon by English people, the laws that press so 
heavily on the Eoman Catholics." 

^^ Anything else?" 

^^ The money earned in a country being 
spent out of a country, the men who earn that 
money living so hardly ; Ireland being taxed 
for the benefit of England." 



Feet of Clay, 197 



'^ Anything else?" 

^^Oli! yes; there are hundreds of other 
things, but I have mentioned sufficient." 

^^ I think you must have been sitting at the 
feet of Mr. Hanlon, Grace," answered her father. 
^' If either you or he can prove to me that 
Ireland is taxed for the benefit of England, I 
shall be surjDrised. On the contrary, Ireland 
is exemjDt from many most irritating taxes 
which clever chancellors of the exchequer have 
devised for the express purpose of reducing 
that plethora of riches from which Englishmen 
are supposed to suffer. The amiability of Bri- 
tannia has even exempted Ireland from the 
soap-tax ; another instance, I conclude, of that 
brutal ignorance of Irish wants concerning 
which Mr. Hanlon speaks so freely. To a 
nation that thinks the use of water unneces- 
sary, it seems nothing less than an insult 
to give soap free. As to your next point, 
making my way backwards, men who earn 
money live hardly everywhere. It is in the 
nature of things ; from the London merchant, 
toiling to leave a fortune or found a family, to 



The EarPs Prouiise, 



Amos Scott, labouring to meet the next ^ gale 
day,' the worker must live hard. Then you say 
it is wrong that money earned in a country 
should be spent out of it. Perhaps so, but I 
fail to see how you would propose to remedy 
the evil." 

'-^ I would make all the people who derive 
their income from Ireland live in Ireland," 
said Grace energetically. 

'-'- It seems to me you would be guilty of a 
great injustice, then," he replied; ''but, how- 
ever, we will suppose, for the sake of argu- 
ment, that the plan you suggest is fair and 
practicable. Suppose, in a word, you have 
the landlords here, how is the money to be 
kept in Ireland? Are the nobility to have 
their portraits painted by local artists? are 
they to buy the pictures on their walls from 
some vague Milesian genius, and their sta- 
tuettes from a Celtic stone-mason ? Ai-e their 
wives and daughters to play music composed 
by the parish organist, on pianos made by an 
enterprising country carpenter ? I suppose 
you would have the gentlemen wear frieze and 



Feet of Clay. 199 



cany bog-oak sticks, and the ladies array 
themselves in poplin and Limerick lace. You 
would have the houses furnished with chairs 
and tables made from arbutus wood, and the 
cabinets filled with ^ speciments ' from the 
Giant's Causeway and tokens from Killarney. 
Turf should be burnt universally, instead of 
English or Scotch coal. That is the only way 
to keep money in a country, Grace. Does the 
programme please you?" 

" You are jesting with me," she said, ^^'and 
yet you would not, if you knew how near it 
all lies to my heart." 

'^ What lies near your heart. Grade ? which 
of the grievances? I am running through 
them as fast as I am able. Which was the 
next sorrow ? Oh ! I remember, the Eoman 
Catholics. Well, they certainly had a consider- 
able number of grievances at one time, but that 
time is past and gone. The Protestants, at 
one period of England's history, did not sleep 
exactly on roses, so that perhaps there might 
be some excuse to urge even in this matter. 
I do not want to excuse, however. It is a 



200 The EarPs Proviise, 

pity, to borrow one of Mr. Hanlon's figures of 
speech, that the Eoman Catholics ^ever were 
trampled under foot and forced to kiss the 
shamrock-spangled sod of Erin;' but all I 
have now to remark about the members of that 
Church is, they have nothing in the present 
to complain of, and are quite at liberty to 
commence taking that ell which is popularly 
supposed to be the next step after receiving an 
inch. I have no particular prejudice against 
the Pope, or his clergy, or his followers my- 
self, but I think that part of the population 
which Mr. Hanlon's ' stalwart peasantry, their 
country's pride,' call the ^Papishers,' will take 
one ell — probably many." 

Grace sat quite still and silent. This, she 
said to herself, was the reasoning the friends 
of Ireland had to listen to and bear patiently. 
Well, Ireland's time would come. In the 
meanwhile, the speaker was her father. Al- 
though he, being English, could not possibly 
understand anything about Ireland, still she, 
Grace, could not argue with and contradict 
him. 



Fed of Clay. 201 



'^ The next grievance stated," \\^ent en Mr. 
MoiFat, '^ is that the English look down on the 
Irish. I^oWj may I not inqnire whether that 
feeling be entirely one-sided? Do not the Irish 
look down on the English ? Have I not heard 
ridicnle directed to their 'mincing talk/ to 
their ' cutting away' of words,' to their drawl, 
their airs, their notions, the whole tirade 
ending, '• But what else can be expected from 
foreigners ? ' Going down to the lower orders, 
it is generally supposed few Englishmen ever 
sound an 'H' in its place, or fail to put one in 
where it is not wanted. I have laughed over 
and over again at such ideas, but it certainly 
never occui-red to me that the ignorance in 
which they originated w^as a grievance. Fur- 
ther, English cleanliness is an offence, ' What 
a dirthy people to nade so much washing ! ' is 
a neat way of putting the Irisli prejudice into 
a nutshell." 

"Pray stop; pray do;" Grace cried; ''we 
do not agree, we cannot — " 

"Why not? I was going on to say tliat^ 
if I may be allowed to make a bull, all Eng- 



202 The EarPs P, 



ro7nise. 



land's best men have been Irishmen ; in England 
they have made their mark, and England has 
not been chary of recognizing their merits." 

'-'- She dare not !" exclaimed Grace. 

^^ We won't go into that question," said Mr. 
Moifat calmly. ^' It is natural enough when 
gangs of imperfectly-clothed, strange-tongued, 
foul-mouthed, ill-looking, unkempt, unwashed 
Irish sweepings go over to the English har- 
vest, a highly- civilized community, though 
composed of the lower orders, should — not com- 
prehending that these gangs are the very dregs 
of the population — think but little of the bulk, 
judging from the sample ; but the upper classes, 
better informed, look to the higher specimens, 
and judge accordingly — ^judge of the capa- 
bilities of the Irish on much too exalted a 
scale." 

'^ And you ? " interrupted his daughter. 

''I try to hold the scales even, but find 
it hard work. If O'Connell were to present a 
glass which could not flatter to the face of 
his countrymen, even he would find they and 
their circumstances capable of presenting some 
very ugly features." 



Fed of Clay. 20^ 



^'I love and respect that man!" cried 
Grace. 

'-'• Well, my dear, so far as I am concerned, 
I have no objection to your doing both. He 
certainly is a very wonderful man ; whether 
he is a great one cannot be determined yet, 
those who live to see the end will know. 
Meanwhile I have nothing else to answer 
except the misery, the distress, the poverty. 
All are — why, we cannot tell with any cer- 
tainty. You talk of England : there are hun- 
dreds, thousands of people in London even, 
who would not let a dog want if they knew 
it, and yet in wretched garrets men, willing 
to work, die ; into the cold rivers women, 
unwilling to face the last alternative, throw 
themselves, as though death were a friend 
tried and trusted. Do you think there is any 
place on the face of this earth where misery, 
distress, poverty, arc not ? I have never seen 
it ; I do not expect ever to see it. Indeed, I 
consider Kingslough singularly exempt from 
the common epidemic of chronic and unrelieved 
poverty. The poverty is, but the relief is 



204 The EarPs Pronii. 



se. 



also — often foolishly given — like yonrs, 
Grace." 

^' Like mine, papa?" and Mistress Grace 
fired ujD. 

^' Like yours, my dear," lie answered calmly. 
^' But for you, and sucli as you, the paupers 
would work or go into the poorhouse. They 
say, ^ God's mercies are better than the house.' 
Translated from their glib language the phrase 
means, ^ What we can beg, threaten, or steal, 
is better than that we receive as a right by 
line and plummet. The casual halfpenny, 
with the wind blowing free about our exposed 
persons, is sweeter than stir-about served in 
a house, Avliere we are expected to conform to 
rules.' Let me go through ^^our annuitants. 
First comes that patriarchal and religious gen- 
tleman w^ho, if he could be transported to 
London, would make his own fortune as a 
model, and the fortune of any artist who painted 
him. His is a splendid and a venerable 
presence, is it not ? He might be an Irish 
Melanchthon — on canvas. His head is worn 
bare by taking off his hat. He impresses 



Feet of Clay. 205 



the beholder with the idea of former re- 
spectability and of present sanctity. He 
can quote the Scriptures with marvellous 
fluency, and has a text ready for every 
occasion. His talk is of another world, and 
when he sees a fitting opportunity he bestows 
the penny just dropped into his hat on some 
one who, to use his own expression, ^ wants it 
worse than himself.' He is a prince amongst 
beggars — a cross between an archbishop and 
an emperor. Now suppose we trace his 
career." 

'' I know what you are going to say, papa, 
but, it is not true. I am certain it cannot be ! " 
exclaimed Grace vehemently. 

•' It is quite true. His father had one of 
those small freehold farms which are amongst 
the misfortunes of this country. He did little 
himself, and he brought up his two sons to do 
less. ITevertheless when he died, one of the 
two, not our venerable friend, but his brother, 
worked on his land after the prevailing fashion. 
He tickled the soil, he went through a 
pantomime of manuring it. He sowed seed 



2o6 The EarPs Promise. 

wMcli produced miserable crops, though better 
than could have been expected. In due time 
the brother died, and then, while his supposed 
grief lay heavy on him, the neighbours said^ 
^ It's is plantin' time, Barney ; arn't ye goin' to 
put in the corn and the praties ? ' Solemnly 
Barney answered, ^The Lord will provide.' 
Thinking him crazy with trouble, the kindly - 
foolish people ploughed his acres, and bringing 
their seed potatoes and their seed corn, set and 
sowed for the gentleman within doors. Further, 
having a certain interest and pride in the 
matter, ' consate ' as they call the feeling, they 
moulded the potatoes, and dug them up ; they 
reaped the corn and thrashed it. IS'othing 
could have been found to please our friend 
better. He thanked them in his best manner, 
lived off the produce they had garnered for 
him, and spent the winter not impleasantly. 
Seed-time came again, but the people did not 
quite see their way to providing and planting 
once more, so the land lay untilled, the fields 
yielded no increase. He sold his cow, his 
horse, his pigs, his fowls ; he sold the furniture, 



Feet of Clay. 207 



his farm, liis house ; he lived on the money 
thus procured so long as it lasted. When it 
was gone he took to begging, and he has gone 
on begging ever since, with a brief interval, 
when he tried '- the house.' One day, while 
in residence there, he saw some bundles of 
new spades arrive. Foreseeing what that 
portended, he left, and returned to his old 
haunts and his old occupation, and was suffi- 
ciently fortunate to please a young lady, who, 
charmed by his acquaintance with Scripture, 
actually settled a pension upon him. Then 
there are your three idiots, who, harmless 
though they may be, ought never to be allowed 
to go roaming about the country, frightening 
children into fits, and disgusting every one 
who has not a fellow-feeling for the '- naturals.' 
That deaf and dumb girl you encourage is a 
perfect nuisance to the neighbourhood, mak- 
ing believe to tell fortunes and to prophesy, in 
her hideous gibberish, good or evil. As for 
the women, Grace, I don't like to speak as I 
feel about them. Ilarmless, toothless old hags 
they seem to you, no doubt, shivering with 



2o8 The EarPs Promise. 

cold, barefooted, scantily dressed, with a 
tattered patchwork quilt covering their 
shoulders ; but, so far as I am concerned, 
rather than meet one of them I would make a 
detour of a mile any day. But, there, I will 
not vex you any more. We do not agree on 
this matter, and I see no chance of our ever 
doing so." 

^' "We are agreed on one point, I am sure," 
said Grace slowly, '' they are poor — " 
^' They are certainly not millionaires.'' 
^'And we have comparative wealth." 
^'We should not be wealthy long if their 
wishes were gratified." 

''And being rich," went on Grace, un- 
heeding, " I fancy we ought to help those who 
are poor. They may be lazy, and dirty, and 
deceitful, and wicked, very possibly they are ; 
but when I lie awake at night, warm and snug, 
I do not think the remembrance of their sinful- 
ness would make me feel more comfortable if, 
through any fault of mine, they were sleeping 
on the bare ground, with the stars looking 
down upon them, and not a morsel to put 



Fed of Clay. 209 



in. their lips when the clay broke. The system 
may be bad, and the people too, but I did not 
make either, and I would fain be of use to 
somebody, if I can." 

^^ You are a good girl, Grace," answered her 
father, '^ and if it be a pleasure to you to 
give, give ; it would be no pleasure to me, and 
so I refrain. To show you, however, that I 
want to please you, I repeat, if your eloquence 
fail to touch the possible future earl, I will see 
whether I can do anything. By-the-way, 
Grace, we see little, comparatively, of Mr. 
Somerford now." 

^^ I suppose he is studying how he shall bear 
his new dignities when they are thrust upon 
him," said Miss Moffat a little bitterly. 

'^Have you heard that Lady Glendare was 
extremely anxious for her son to marry ? " 

'-'" Impossible ! " 

'-'• Perfectly possible ; she found the young 
lady, too. But his lordship seemed, so Dill- 
wynn tells me, to consider there had been 
sufEcient division in the family; in a word, 
he does not think the idea of disappoining his 

VOL. II. r 



210 The EarPs Promise. 

cousin so entrancing a one as it might have 
appeared formerly. Further, the bride he is 
bound to will not hear of disappoinment, so 
Mr. Somerford may awake any morning and 
find himself one step nearer the earldom of 
Glendare." 

^^ He will have much in his power ; " that 
was all Grace said or meant to say about 
the matter. 

^'I am not quite sure of that," replied 
her father, ^^ the property is fLightfuUy en- 
cumbered." 

^^But a few years of retrenchment and 
good management would work a great change 
in the state of affairs," she suggested. 

^' It will have to be wrought by some 
one not a Somerford, or I am greatly mis- 
taken," said Mr. Moffat, and then Grace under- 
stood that Mr. Dillwyn had been depreciat- 
ing Eobert Somerford to her parent. 

A few days later she felt disposed to de- 
preciate him to herself. Walking back from 
Kingslough she met the possible earl riding 
towards the town. At sight of her he dis- 



Feet of Clay. 211 



mounted, and, leading his horse, retraced 
joart of his way in her company. 

She had wished to see him, and said so 
frankly; she wanted to speak about Amos 
Scott, and ascertain if anything could be 
done for him, and if so, what ? She spoke 
of the great trouble which had come to her 
humble friend, spoke out of the fulness of 
her heart of the wrong he had sustained, of 
the misery he was suffering, of all the 
wretchedness she feared might arise from the 
affair. 

'-'- Such cases have been, unhappily, not un- 
common," said Mr. Somerford. ^^It is no 
wonder a judgment has fallen on our 
race." 

^^When you come into the title you will 
try to put all the wrong right," she said 
eagerly, forgetting herself — forgetting him, as 
she thought of Amos Scott, and others in a 
like predicament, who had been left homeless 
through the carelessness or wickedness of the 
Glendares. 

" If ever I am Earl of Glendare,'' he replied, 

p2 



212 The EarPs Promise. 

in a tone which told Grace the full extent 
of the error she had committed, ^'If ever I 
have the misfortune to be Earl of Glendare, I 
expect I shall find everything wrong, and 
nothing left wherewith to put wrong right. 
As to Scott, I know not what to say or to do. 
I will talk the matter over with Dillwyn, and, 
if anything can be done, I will write to you or 
call." 

She had gone so far, that she felt disposed 
to go a little farther. She would put affairs 
upon some different footing, let the conse- 
quences be what they would, let her companion 
think what he chose. 

^' We have not had the pleasure of seeing 
much of you lately," she said in a tone 
studiously careless, though her voice almost 
trembled as she uttered the words. 

'' I have been scarcely my own master since 
Henry went away," he replied. '' The fact 
is — " but there he stopped. 

'' You did not complete your sentence, I 
think," she said, after an instant's pause. 

''JN'o, it was an awkward sentence, one I 



Feet of Clay. 213 



ought not perhaps to have begun; but the 
fact is, my time is so little at my own dis- 
posal; my position is now so different fi'om 
what it was formerly — that — you are so 
clever. Miss Moffat, I am certain you under- 
stand." 

^^ I am not particularly clever," she retorted; 
^' but I fancy I understand, and I will speak 
more plainly than you. We, my father and I, 
made you welcome to come to Bay view; we 
now make you equally welcome to stay away. 
Good morning, Mr. Somerford," and, with a 
slight curtsey, Grace left him, as greatly dis- 
concerted a gentleman as any gentleman who 
has got what he wanted, but not in the way 
he wanted it, could possibly be. 

For Grace, she was like one who, receiving 
a wound in the heat of battle, feels neither 
ache nor pain. She was in such a tempest of 
passion, that she could not tell where she was 
hurt, or whether she was hurt at all. A man 
had trodden her pride under foot. She 
had been jilted, and that by Eobert Somer- 
ford ! 



214 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

BY THE SAD SEA WAVES. 

Times goes on, whether people are glad or 
sorry, sick or well, rich or poor, and it never 
paused for a moment, although Miss Grace 
Moffat was mortified beyond expression be- 
cause a man had served her as she had served 
Mr. John Eiley. 

Fast and loose is a game at which people 
only like to play when they are the winners. 
It had been a small matter in the opinion of 
the girl Grace to discard a lover. Seven years 
later it seemed no small matter for a lover to 
discard her. 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 21^ 

It is a curious thing to consider how rarely 
in matters of great or little importance men 
and women are able to avenge themselves, 
and yet how surely retribution is compassed 
for them by others. Thousands of miles dis- 
tant, John Eiley never dreamed his lost love 
was receiving from Mr. Somerford the same 
measure she had meted to him. Grace, as 
was natural, felt very indignant about the 
matter, but it never occurred to her that it 
had been rather nice of John Eiley not to feel 
anger against her in the days that could never 
come back. 

It was not a ]Dleasant experience, but I am 
very certain that she was the better for it ; that 
the heiress, who found her money could not 
buy everything for her, could no more prevent 
slights being put upon her than if she were 
a girl without a sixpence, was much improved 
by the discovery. 

In affairs of the heart, when their own is 
not touched, women are as instinctively cruel 
to men as children to insects, perhaps for the 
same reason ; and if the lesson which makes 



2i6 Tlie Earl's Pro?nisc, 



them ^' feel too " be sharp, it is nevertheless 
better for them to imderstand that what may 
seem fun to their ignorance is death to their 
victims. 

The blow to Grace's pride was so severe 
that it almost deadened the pain of the wound 
received by her fancy. I use the word 
advisedly, for her heart had never been very 
deeply concerned in the matter. 

Eobert Somerford never was to her what 
Daniel Brady had been to poor Nettie. She 
never loved him with an absorbing attachment ; 
if she had, however, that love must indeed bo 
remarkable which can subsist for years on 
hope and expectancy. People may marry 
after a probation of this kind, as they may 
marry after a long engagement, but the pro- 
bability is that the final wooing and wedding- 
will prove a somewhat prosaic affair. 

^No ; now the scales were removed from her 
eyes, Grace Moffat knew she had never cared 
for Eobert Somerford as she understood a girl 
should care for the man she intended to take as 
husband. She had been dazzled by his good 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 217 

looks, his accomplishments, his manners, his 
rank, his prospects. She had felt as the poor 
people around her would have said that she 
was '^getting value for her money." Oh, 
that money I In the first bitterness of her 
disappointment Grace wished she had not 
a penny. '' Then perhaps somebody might 
care forme for myself," she thought, as if John 
Eiley had not cared more for her little finger 
than for all her fortune. 

But, then, she did not care for John Eiley, 
which made the difference. 

One mortification, however. Miss Moff'at was 
spared. The world (that is to say, her world) 
never knew exactly how the matter stood, 
for the home thrust she administered had only 
the effect of bringing Mr. Somerford as a more 
frequent visitor to her father's house. Ho 
wrote Grace a note, complaining of how 
utterly she had misjudged him, and declaring 
that till the last hour of his life he could never 
forget Bay view; the dear friends who lived 
there ; the happy hours he had spent beneath 
its roof. What he said was specious enough, 



21 8 TJic EarVs 'Pro7nise, 

and Grace, wise in her generation, and mindful 
always of what ''Kingslough might think," 
accepted his explanation. 

But she knew perfectly well that she had 
not misinterpreted his meaning ; and he knew 
this. Perhaps because he did know it, he 
came to the house more frequently, feeling 
relieved at the idea that now Grace could not 
expect him to propose for her, and yet with a 
vague idea that at some future period he 
might ask her to marry him. 

But for his expectations he would have 
asked her to do so long before. He was very 
fond of her, but he was not one half so fond 
of her as of himself. K'ever had he liked her 
better than when she said he could stay away. 
There was a spirit and a directness, and a 
comprehension about her swift retort which 
gave a piquancy to the transaction. 

And he liked to think no one knew, no one 
would ever know, anything about it excej)t- 
ing they two. He felt satisfied she would 
feel as little desire to speak of that short 
skirmish as he. They understood each other, 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 219 

and tlie only drawback to tlie pleasure of her 
society lie had ever felt was removed. Alto- 
gether it was as well she had spoken ; alto- 
gether Grace acknowledged it was better he 
should still visit at Bayview. 

But she could never care for him again. 
Hero in her eyes he might never seem more. 

It was at this period he would have talked 
to Mr. Dillwyn concerning Amos Scott's 
affairs, had that gentleman not told him he 
declined to meddle in the transaction, that there 
was nothing to be done about the matter, that 
if the old earl rose from the dead he could not 
give Scott the promised lease, and that, in fine, 
there was no use in discussing the question. 

" If you believe your uncle had the man's 
money, and feel any desire to repay the 
amount — pay it," finished Mr. Dillwyn; 
'•' but neither 3'ou nor anybody else, except 
Brady, can give him a longer term of the 
Castle Farm, and Brady [won't give it to 
him." 

^^ You think not?" 

''I am sure not ! " was the reply. 



120 The EarPs P, 



roimsc. 



^Nevertheless Mr. Somerford rode over to 
Maryville in the hope of affecting Mr. Brady's 
heart by his powers of persuasion. But Mr. 
Brady was firm. He would only, so he 
declared, have been too glad to accede to Mr. 
Soraerford's request had the land been any 
other land than the Castle Farm, and the 
man any other man than Amos Scott. 

'-' If I were to give in to him now," he said, 
'^ I might leave Maryville. He would regard 
my concession as an act of weakness ; he 
would be setting himself up in opposition 
against me at every turn. I should have no 
peace of my life. It really grieves me, Mr. 
Somerford, to have to refuse a request coming 
from one of your family, and more particularly 
as I understand Miss Mofi'at is also interested 
in the matter. But if you put yourself in my 
place, you will see, I think, how utterly im- 
possible it is for me to do what you ask." 

All of which, and many other regrets, and 
apologies and excuses, Mr. Somerford re- 
peated to Miss Moffat, who, thanks to the 
fresh light thrown across his character, under- 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 221 

stood perfectly that if tlie earPs nephew had 
stood ih Mr. Brady's shoes, he would most likely 
have acted in a somewhat similar manner. 
As indeed why should he not ? 

Even Grace would have been unable to say 
with authority that Mr. Brady ought to give 
up his rights for any other reason than be- 
cause ^^it was such a pity of poor Amos," 
and this sentiment, although pretty coming 
from a woman's lips, would scarcely, I imagine, 
satisfy a jury as to the justice of a man's 
claim. Undoubtedly it was a pity of poor 
Amos; but then, as Mr. Dillwyn remarked, 
he had no one to thank for his misfortunes 
except himself. 

Amos, on the contrary, thought every one 
was to blame for his misfortunes except him.- 
self, and Mr. Brady he regarded as the chief 
of the offenders, because, knowing Scott 
wanted the farm, he had gone and taken it 
^^ over his head." 

^^ I shall light it out with you," said Scott, 
shaking his fist in Mr. Brady's face. 

^' Ycry well," answered Mr. Brady, '' I am 



222 The Eaj'Ps P> 



romise. 



content." And it required no seer to tell 
wliat tlie end of the matter would be as re- 
garded the Scotts. 

Meanwhile, howeyer, a strong feeling was 
developing itself against Mr. Erady. Popular 
opinion, which in other places besides Ireland 
generally rears itself in opposition to law, 
considered Scott had been hardly done by — 
that '^ Brady had taken an advantage of him," 
— that ^^ he knew well enough the decent man 
had paid his savings honestly come by, to 
the earl " — that the '' Castle Farm could be 
no more to him nor any other farm," and that 
'-^ he might have taken the sum Mr. Moffat 
offered him to let Scott and his wife and the 
boys and girls stay on in the old home." 

^^ But it's himself is the hard man," said 
even the beggars, when rehearsing Mr. Brady's 
sins of omission and commission. 

^^ An' it'll come home to him yet," chorused 
dozens of self-constituted partisans, for it was 
a noticeable fact in the affair that Mr. Brady 
was the person on whose head all the vials of 
righteous wrath were poured. 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 22;^ 

As for the earl, ^' In course a gentleman 
like him had plenty to think about; and it 
was no miracle, with all the trouble he had 
on him, that Scott's lease should have slipped 
his memory." 

There was some truth in this view of the 
question, and it was a natural view, at all 
events to a nation who probably never will 
be induced to understand that as much evil 
may be wrought through carelessness as 
through set purpose, that the indiiference of 
selfishness may curse as many lives as the 
deliberate plotting of a clever schemer. 

Be this as it may, however, people were 
beginning to take sides in the matter. One 
party considered Scott ought to be supported ; 
another, though perfectly indifferent to his 
opponent, thought Brady Avas entitled to enter 
into possession. 

^'The law is clear enough in the case," said 
Lord Ardmorne, '' and those who are incitiDg 
the poor fellow to resist the law, are doing him 
but a sorry kindness." 

Wherein the marquis was quite correct, 



224 ^^^'^ EarPs Prouilsc, 

only he overlookecl tlie fact that Scott was 
quite ready to resist the law without any 
incitement from his fellows. Further, if s-uch 
a paradox be admissible, he believed the law 
to be on his side ; that is, lie was looking out 
for a solicitor whom lie could persuade to be of 
his opinion. Somewhere on the earth justice 
would be done him, if not in one court, why 
in another. 

The man was unreasonable, mad if you 
will; but Mr. Brady, as he imagined, was 
trying to despoil him of the labour of years, 
the fruits of his toil, and it is not alone in 
Ireland that people who fancy they have been 
ruined without any fault of their own are 
irrational and implacable. 

Besides, he had a vague idea that if he 
could pour the tale of his wrongs into the ears 
of the proper person, Brady might be worsted, 
and he righted ; and there is perhaps nothing 
more difficult to combat than a conviction, 
decided, though formless, of this kind. 

As for Grace, she Avas grooving sick at heart 
of the whole business. All her sympathies 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 225 

were with Scott and his family, but she had 
sense enough to see there could be only one 
end to the course the farmer had elected to 
tread — ruin; and sometimes she could not 
help agreeing in her father's openly-expressed 
opinion that the best thing which could now 
occur at the Castle Farm would be for Amos 
to take a fever and die, and so leave the 
mother and children free to quit the place, 
and let those who were willing to help them 
do so. 

It was whilst things were in this unsatis- 
factory state that Mr. Hanlon one day brought 
Grace a note from Mrs. Erady. He presented 
it with formal politeness, saying he had been 
asked to give it in private into Miss Moffat's 
own hands. 

"Will you not read it?" he asked, as 
Grace held the letter unopened. 

^^Does Mrs. Brady wish me to return an 
answer by you? " was the reply spoken coldly 
enough, for Miss Moffat by no means 
approved of the messenger chosen by her 
old friend. 

VOL. ir. Q 



226 The EarPs Promise, 

"No; as I understand the matter, that 
note only contains a request which Mrs. 
Brady is sure you will comply with. She 
had no other means," he went on hurriedly, 
"of sending to you: she was afraid of the 
letter miscarrying in any way, of it falling hy 
mischance into her husband's possession. 

"Did she tell you so ? " Grace inquired. 

"There are some things, Miss Moffat, one 
knows by intuition." 

Grace broke the seal and read the few lines 
Nettie had traced; then, turning to Mr. 
Hanlon, she said, " Do you know by intuition 
the contents of this note ? " 

" I gathered from a few words Mrs. Brady 
let fall that she wishes to see you," he replied 
ignoring the ironical repetition of his own 
remark contained in Miss Moffat's inquiry. 

" Do you know why she wishes to see me ? " 
Grace persisted. 

"I do not," was the reply. Then more 
earnestly, "I assure you, on my honour, I 
have not the slightest idea — " 

" Mr. Ilanlon," Grace began, " I always was, 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 22^ 

I always shall be, attached to Mrs. Brady; but I 
donotlike commencing any correspondence with 
her which involves mystery and secrecy." 

''That I can well understand; but from 
what I have seen of Mrs. Brady you may 
be certain she has some sufficient reason 
for her request ; from what I have seen of 
Mr. Brady, it might be perilous for her 
openly to disobey his commands." 

'-'- Perilous ! " exclaimed Grace. 

'' I use the word advisedly — and — confi- 
dentially," he answered. '^ It may be," he 
.he went on, '^that in meeting Mrs. Brady as 
she asks, you may be doing her a great service. 
In any case you cannot be doing her an un- 
kindness, for she is very lonely and — very 
unhappy." 

Grace did not reply, she took up Nettie's 
note and read it over once more : 

'' This evening soon after dusk, I shall be 
at the Lone Eock. I want to speak to you ; 
meet me there. Be sure you do. Burn this 
note, and say nothing about it to any one." 

When she had finished, she said, — 

q2 



228 The EarPs Promise, 

'^ You are going back to Maryville, I sup- 
pose ? " 

'' No, I may not perhaps be there again for 
weeks, unless, indeed, you wish me to convey 
a message to Mrs. Brady." 

^'It is not a matter of any consequence," 
was the reply ; ^' I only wanted to let her know 
I would do as she asks." 

*' That I think she expected," he said; and 
then, having completed his mission, and find- 
ing that the conversation languished, Mr. 
Hanlon took his leave. 

It would be diflicult to say why Miss Moffat 
shrank from the idea of the interview suggested 
by Nettie. Had Mrs. Brady proposed coming 
to Bayview, Grace would have welcomed her 
with open arms ; but she distrusted mysteries. 
She could not help remembering all the evil 
Nettie's secret ways of proceeding had wrought 
in the days gone by, and she could not endure 
being a party to a clandestine meeting, the 
note appointing which was brought to her, of 
all people in the world, by Mr. Hanlon. 

Instinct in most women is a truer guide 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 229 

than reason, and instinctively Grace felt that 
!N'ettie's note portended trouble ; that her 
choice of a messenger was indiscreet ; that mat- 
ters at Maryville were even worse than most 
people imagined ; and that time, instead of draw- 
ing Mr. Brady and his wife closer together, 
was widening the breach that had been made 
when injudicious but well-meaning friends 
forced Nettie on a man who was but half- will- 
ing to marry her. 

'' I must try to gain her confidence," thought 
Grace, as though after seven years she could 
hope to win a trust which Nettie then with- 
held. Mrs. Brady had never confided in any 
one. It was not likely she intended to change 
her tactics now. 

The grounds at Bayview extended to the 
seashore. At high tide the trees spread their 
branches over the water, and when storms 
were fierce and the waves came rolling in, 
the long gravel- walk on the top of the sloping 
bank was impassable. In calm weather, how- 
ever, the place gave one the idea of utter peace 
and repose, and Grace had always been fond 



230 The EarVs Promise. 

of wandering upon the shore, looking now 
away to the open sea, and again to the soft 
green hills, with Kingslough nestling under 
their shadow. 

!N'ot a stone, not a tree, not an effect of sun 
and shade, not an illusion of twilight, not a 
fairy touch of moonlight, but was familiar to 
Grace ; and as she neared the Lone Eock in the 
growing darkness of a still summer's evening 
her accustomed eye saw a figure leaning against 
the stone, which came forward to meet her. 

"• :^ettie ! " 

" Grace ! " That was all ; then they sat 
down, hand clasped in hand, and kept silence 
for a minute. 

It was broken by l^ettie. 

" I knew you would come/' she said. 

'^ Yes." Grace could not find it in her heart 
to speak the words she had intended, at least 
not then. 

''Perhaps you thought it strange my not 
going to Bay view ? " resumed Nettie ; '-'- but I 
dare not." 

^' Why? "asked the other. 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 231 

'^In the first place, because Mr. Brady 
never would have forgiven me if I had ; in the 
next, because he would have wanted to know 
what I could have to say to you. 

*^ And supposing he had ? " Grace inquired. 

" When I have told you, there will be no 
need to suppose how he would feel about the 
matter," replied Nettie shortly. " Before, 
however, I get to that part of my story, I 
want to say something. When I was first 
married, I felt your not coming to see me 
very keenly. I was bitter against you ; I am 
not bitter now. I atn glad you never entered 
Maryville ; you were right." 

'^ That is a point on which I have never 
been able to satisfy myself," said Grace sadly. 
^' I did not want to desert you, Nettie, but 
I could not run counter to the wishes and 
desires of all my friends." 

^^We will leave your friends and their 
wishes out of the question," was the answer. 
^' I tell you I am glad. I say it was right for 
you to have done with me. It was I who de- 
serted you ; it was I who, without counting the 
cost, gave all for love and the world well lost." 



232 The EarPs Promise. 

^'I cannot ask you questions which might 
pain you," said Grace ; ^' but anything you like 
to tell me, do, though I am almost afraid to 
hear what your married life has been." 

^' You need not be afraid, for you will never 
hear, neither you nor anybody else," Nettie 
replied. ^'I have borne, and I can bear. ISTo 
human being knows what I have borne but 
myself." 

There was a little catching sob, and then 
she proceeded, — 

^^ Grace, you must never let any one 
suspect how you got to know what I am 
going to tell you." 

^'Perhaps you ought not to tell me ?" sug- 
gested Miss Moffat. 

"You will be able to judge better about 
that when you know what it is," retorted her 
companion. 

"But I do not like having to keep secrets," 
Grace pleaded, " I never did all my life ; they 
are always productive of anxiety, or misery, 
or shame." 

" Don't talk nonsense ! " exclaimed Mrs. 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 233 

Brady; ^'people must have secrets, and they 
must hear and tell them too sometimes. The 
matter I have to speak about does not concern 
me, though it concerns people in whose pro- 
sperity you ought to feel interested." 

" Do you mean the Scotts ? " 

'^ No, I do not mean the Scotts ; I mean a 
family who will find themselves in a worse 
position than the Scotts some day, if they 
are not wise in time. If John Eiley were 
at home, I should not have troubled you about 
the matter. 

^'What has John Eiley to do with it?" 
asked Grace 

'' Just this much : you know Woodbrook is 
heavily mortgaged ? of course you do, that 
was one reason why you would not marry 
John." 

^^ Nettie!" 

''It is of no use interrupting me in that 
ridiculous manner," said Mrs. Brady pettishly. 
''If John had been a rich man, I believe you 
would have married him ; but as he was only a 
poor, honest fellow, with a plain face, who 



234 The EarPs Promise. 

loved you Avith all his heart and soul, you sent 
him adrift, and let him go to India, where I 
hope he may make a fortune, and come home, 
and meet with some good, sensible girl, richer 
than ever you were. Yes, you may take away 
your hand; I did not come here to-night to 
flatter you, be sure of that." 

"What did you come for?" asked Miss 
Moffat ; " do not beat about the bush, and talk 
of all sorts of irrelevant matters, but tell me in 
a Word what it is you want to say." 

" In a word, then, you know Woodbrook is 
mortgaged ? " 

" Yes ; it has always been so." 

" Do you know who holds that mortgage ? " 

"I once heard, but I have forgotten the 
name." 

'^ Do you think you could remember it if 
I told you?" 

" If any good purpose were to be served 
by my recollection, I would try," answered 
Grace. 

" Well, then, the mortgage is really held by 
Mr. Daniel Brady of Maryville." 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 235 

'^ You are not serious ? " 

'^Amliiot? The Eileys may find it a 
very serious matter to them, whatever you 
may think." 

^^But how could he hold the mortgage 
without the General being aware of the 
fact ? " 

^' I cannot tell you, for I do not know 
myself. All I am able to say, he does hold 
it.'^ 

'^ Are you quite certain ? " 

" As certain as that we are sitting here." 

'' From whom did you hear this ? " 

^' From Mr. Brady's own lips." 

" And what does he say about it ? " 

^' He never said a word to me concerning 
the affair." 

'^ But I thought you heard from his own lips 
that he held the mortgage ? " 

^'So I did, but he was not talking to 
me." 

^' To whom was he talking? " 

'^ To his lawyer, and I was listening: and 
if he knew I had listened, he would kill me — 



236 The EarPs Promise, 

that is," added l^ettie reflectively, ^' if lie was 
not afraid of being hung." 

^'Why should he mind your knowing 
about it?" Grace asked with a shiver. 

'^ Why should he mind your knowing about 
it ? why should he mind the General know- 
ing?" inquired ^Nettie contemptuously. 
^'Because if once the Eileys' eyes were 
opened, they would move heaven and earth 
to pay the interest regularly, or to pay off* 
the mortgage altogether. If they do not do 
this, he will own Woodbrook yet, as surely as 
he owns the Castle Farm now." 

^' "What can be done?" said Grace help- 
lessly ; '^ do you think I ought to go to the 
General ? " 

^' I am sure you ought to do nothing of the 
kind," answered ]^ettie. ''He is an old man, 
and he never was a very wise one. Do you 
ever write to John ? " 

'' l^ever." 

" What a shame ! If I had not liked him 
well enough for a husband, I Avould have tried 
to keep him as a friend." 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 2^J 

^' Surely we need not talk of that now ? " 
suggested Grace. 

^' Mrs. Hartley has not given him up, I 
suppose?" said Nettie, unheeding the inter- 
ruption. 

*'^ She hears from him frequently," was the 
answer. 

^^But then you never see her," remarked 
Mrs. Brady. 

^^ She often asks me to go to England, but I 
always refuse." 

" Home attractions are so great," said Nettie 
demurely. 

^' I am very fond of my home." 

^^Are you still very fond of something 
else, or, to speak more correctly, of some- 
body else ? " 

'^ I do not exactly understand." 

" Do you intend to marry Mr. Somerford or 
not?" 

^^ It will be time enough for me to answer 
that question when he asks me it him- 
self." 

^' I wish you would answer me though, 



238 The EarPs Promise. 

Grace," said Mrs. Brady earnestly. '-'- When 
Eobert Somerford asks you to be his wife, 
what reply shall you make ? " 

^^He may never put such a question," 
answered Grace, with an uneasy laugh, ^^so 
what is the use of talking about it ? " 

"He will put just such a question before 
very long," persisted Mrs. Brady; "you are 
neither a child nor a very foolish girl any 
more. You are a year older than I am, and I 
feel as if I had lived a century at least. Tell 
me truly what answer you will return ; do tell 
me, Grace, for the sake of the days when you 
loved me." 

" I love you still, Nettie ! " 

Impatiently Mrs. Brady turned aside the 
remark. 

" I do not want to know whether you love 
me or not. What can that signify now ? I 
want to know if you mean to marry Mr. 
Somerford when he asks you." 

" How do you know he ever means to do 
so ? " said Grace evasively. 

"I will tell you when you have replied to 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 239 

my question. "Will you say ' yes ' or 
' no.' '' 

" In that entirely suppositious case I should 
say ^No.' " 

" KeaUy and truly ? " 

'^ Keally and truly I, shall never be more 
to him than I am now." 

^^ Notwithstanding his handsome face ! " 

"Not if he were ten times handsomer 
than he is." 

" He is going to act extremely handsomely 
by you." said Nettie, picking up a pebble and 
throwing it out into the sea as far as she could. 
"He means to propose to Miss Middleton, and 
when she refuses him, as she will do, he 
intends to ask you." 

There was a matter-of-fact coolness about 
this statement which took away Miss Moffat's 
breath. Finding she made no comment, her 
friend continued, " I heard that, also, the other 
evening. Miss Middleton is the daughter of 
a great English brewer, who has bought an 
estate near Kilcurragh ; but her father will not 
hear of the match. Some one has been preju- 



240 The EarPs Promise. 

dicing liiin against Mr. Eobert, so you see 
the gentleman will fall between the two 
stools." 

" It does not matter to either you or me 
where he falls," said Grace hurriedly. 

^*]^ot much certainly," agreed Mrs. Brady. 
^* And now that I have told you my news, I 
will go home again." 

^^ Do not go yet ! " entreated Miss Mofiat. 
" Tell me what I ought to do about the 
General." 

"Your own sense will tell you that," !N"ettie 
answered ; " only, Grace, on whatever course 
you may decide, keep my name out of the 
affair. iNever let any one suspect you heard 
of it from me." 

''Are you not afraid of trusting Mr. 
Hanlon ? " asked her friend gently. 

" I do not trust him." 

" Eut he knew you wished to see me ? " 

"Yes; but nothing more. He does not 
know anything from me, though, of course, he 
cannot avoid seeing." 

"What does he see, dear?" asked Grace, 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 241 

replying rather to the quiver in Nettie's voice 
than to the words she spoke. 

^' It is no matter," was the answer, and the 
sentence sounded almost like a sob. 

Grace's arms were about her neck ; Grace's 
tears were on her cheek. ^^ Nettie darling, am 
I not the nearest friend you ever had ? cannot 
you trust me with your trouble, whatever it 
may be ? " 

Gently and sorrowfully Nettie unclasped the 
twining arms, and put away the lips which 
were pressed to hers. 

*^ It is no matter," she repeated ; ^^ I do not 
want to talk of myself at all. I must go now, 
Grace, I must indeed." 

And she rose as she spoke, and drawing her 
dark shawl closely about her slight figure, 
pressed Grace's hand in token of farewell. 

Grace held her hand tight. 

^' When shall I see you again ? " she asked. 

^' Sometime perhaps — perhaps never," was 
the reply. '^ Sometime, Grace, when you are 
happily married and have a tribe of bairns 
about you, or are a rich old maid with no 

VOL. II. R 



242 The EarPs Promise, 

bairns at all, I may ask you to give a helping 
hand to my children. It is the thought of 
them that breaks my heart." 

^^ You lost one ! " Grace said pityingly. 

^^Two," corrected IS'ettie, ^^and sometimes 
I wish I had lost them all." 

^^ You must not speak in that way, dear ! " 
expostulated Grace. 

^'I know it," was the reply, ^^ and so I do 
not want to speak." 

^' "Will you let me come and see you ? " 

'-'• No, never ^"^^ said !N'ettie decidedly. ^' There 
is only one thing you can do for me now, and 
that is save the Eileys. I think Mrs. Hartley 
will find a way to do it. At all events she can 
warn John. He did the best he could for me 
once, and I should not like to see his father 
and mother and sisters beggars." 

"But why should Mr. Brady want to 
beggar them ? " asked Grace, who could not 
yet grasp the full meaning and importance 
of all Nettie had told her. 

" He hates them," was the answer, spoken 
calmly and evenly. " He hates everybody, I 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 24.;^ 

think, but lie has an especial aversion to the 
Eileys, because they made him marry 
me." 

^^You were married to him before they 
interfered." 

^^ I am not so sure of that ; I shall never know 
for a certainty whether- the first ceremony, 
if one could call it a ceremony, was legal. 
In any case, but for the Eileys, he could have 
turned round some day and told me it was 
valueless. Be'sides that, the General and 
John were not very civil to him, and none of 
the family ever took any notice of me after — 
after — I left my aunt." 

^^ Scant causes to produce such great results !" 
said Miss Moffat reflectively. 

'^ More than sufficient, however," answered 
Nettie. 

"Mr. Brady must be very rich," remarked 
Grace after a moment's silence. 

" He is not rich; he is poor, he will always 
be poor ; but he has the command of money, 
he knows people ready to advance it. I sup- 
pose if you and I wanted to raise money for 

R 2 



244 ^^^ EarVs Promise, 

any good purpose, we should not be able to 
get it, but if we desired it to compass any evil, 
I do not doubt but we should have more than 
we could use." 

^^ You seem to entertain some nice comfort- 
able theories concerning life," said Grace, 
trying to speak cheerfully. 

^^ I have no theories," answered Mrs. Brady. 
^^ Everything with me resolves itself into 
practice. I used to have dreams and fancies, 
but I have none now, except on^ which haunts 
me night and day." 

^' What is that?" 

^'l^ever mind, it may come true or it may 
not. I wonder, Grace," she suddenly added, 
^^ what you and I will be doing seven years 
hence, if we live so long ? " 

'^ I hope you will be happier, ISTettie." 

" I never said I was unhappy, did I ? " 
asked the young wife. '-'- Some people are 
born to be very happy, I suppose, and some — 
are not so fortunate. It was not such a bright 
fortune which lay before me when I was a 
girl, that I need lament over my present lot. 



By the Sad Sea Waves. 245 

I have not everything I should like, it is true, 
but I do not complain ; no one ever heard me 
complain." 

^^ I would rather hear you complain, Nettie, 
than talk in the way you have done to-night." 

^^Ah! that is because you do not know, 
because you cannot understand." 

She was gone. Grace would have followed, 
but she waved her back. 

*^ You must not come with me," she said. 
'' Good-bye." 

Slowly and mournfully the waves rippled 
in on the sands as Grace Moffat walked home- 
ward, her thoughts intent on Nettie and her 
extraordinary confidence. 

If the statement she had made were true, 
and it was impossible to doubt its accuracy, 
then Mr. Brady intended to oust the Eileys 
out of "Woodbrook, as he proposed to turn 
the Scotts out of the Castle Farm. 

As Nettie had said, it does not require so 
much money to compass evil as it does to 
effect good. It is easier to ruin a man than 
to establish his fortunes. 



246 The EarPs Pro?nise, 

Mortgaging in Ireland was not in those days 
so unusual a thing as to induce general igno- 
rance concerning its possible, and probable re- 
sults ; and although Mr. Moffat had never bor- 
rowed a shilling, never forestalled his income 
by an hour, still Grace had heard enough of 
monetary embarrassments among her acquaint- 
ances to understand tolerably well what 
^'foreclosing" would mean on the Wood- 
brook estates. 

Her own fortune, it may be remembered, 
had at one time been destined to redeeming 
that mortgage, and giving ease to a family 
who had never known the meaning of the 
word: but when she refused Mr. Eiley, of 
course his relatives had relapsed into their old 
state of embarrassment, which was, however, 
in their eyes relieved by John's letters and 
John's remittances from India. If, there- 
fore, the interest were accumulating, if the 
indebtedness were increasing, if Mr. Brady 
were the real mortgagee, Grace, without any 
gift of second sight, could see the end which 
must come ere long, unless steps to avert the 



By the Sad Sea Waves, 247 

catastrophe could be taken, and that without 
delay. 

And the sea rippled in over the sands, and the 
scent of the flowers and shrubs floated on the 
air as they had done that night when she 
refused her first loyer, and sent him out into 
the world to seek such fortune as the world 
had in store for him. 



248 



CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT THE WAVES WHISPERED. 

There is no sadder sound in nature than the 
plashing of the waves on a lonely shore in the 
twilight of a calm evening. As nothing more 
mournful can well be seen than an expanse of 
sand stretching away to the far-out tide under 
the first glimpse of light, so there is something 
melancholy beyond expression in that per- 
petually recurring sob with which the sea 
flings itself upon the land. 

The sound is not soothing because it is in- 
termittent, and the ear aches with waiting for 
its return. It lacks the fury of tempest, and 
consequently fails to kindle the imagination. 



What the Waves Whispered, i\c^ 

iS'ot even the soughing of autumn winds 
amongst the trees is so plaintive and depressing 
as the moaning of the sea. One could almost 
fancy that spirits haunted the shore, and kept 
weeping and making lamentations bitter, 
though low. The cry of the bittern cutting 
through the night is weird and sorrowful 
enough, but it does not sink the soul with such 
a burden of utter depression as that caused by 
the long drawn-out sigh of the quiet sea. 

There are special times and particular moods 
of mind when, even to those who love the 
ocean best, the monotonous lament I have tried 
to describe becomes almost unendurable. It 
recalls unpleasant memories of the past, it 
awakens dismal forebodings concerning the 
future, it shadows the present with a mantle of 
gloom, and it tinges every thought and recollec- 
tion with a touch of involuntary superstition. 
In darkness and loneliness people grow fanci- 
ful and imaginative. Provide melancholy with 
a calm evening, a quiet shore, and the sea lap- 
ping in upon the sands, and the solitary muser 
becomes her victim with scarce a struggle. 



250 The EarPs Promise. 

Melancholy, at all events, held Grace Moffat 
captive as she walked slowly back from the 
Lone Eock, thinking as she went. 

Given youth, beauty, health, fortune, should 
not her thoughts have been pleasant ? To all 
outward appearance Grace Moffat had not a 
care ; and, in reality, any trouble she might 
feel arose principally, if not entirely, from her 
high ideal of life's responsibilities, from her 
intense sympathy with the sins, sorrows, and 
perplexities of her fellow-creatures. 

Through the gathering darkness she saun- 
tered slowly homeward, and her thoughts 
brooded thus : " Beauty ! what does it profit ? 
Has it won for me a single true heart? 
Wealth ! what use have I made of it hitherto, 
of what avail shall it prove in the future ? 
Youth ! it passes away, it is gone in an hour ; 
whilst the soft green buds of April open into 
leaf, behold May comes on us unawares ; and 
almost ere we can scent the perfume of the 
hawthorn, June's roses are blooming, have 
bloomed, are dead. Friends ! they die, they 
change, they leave us. The plans and the 



What the Waves Whispered. 251 

projects of life, they are either incapable of 
fulfilmeiit, or our power is not competent to 
perfect them. The hopes, the dreams, the as- 
pirations of early spring are chilled, dispelled, 
disappointed, ere the first breath of winter has 
frosted oyer the fair landscape. And what is 
left; ?" the girl reflected, pausing as she asked 
the question. 

Slowly and solemnly the waves swept in 
upon the shore, and then, flinging out a wreath 
of foam, retreated with a sob. 

^' The whole creation groaneth and travaileth 
in pain together," Grace murmured. 

She was not free from the vice of quoting 
half-texts of Scripture and fancifully adapting 
them to personal impressions, which is the 
speciality of young people, but from which 
persons who are older and ought to know 
better are often unable altogether to excuse 
themselves. 

Even the sea seemed to her imagination to 
be in pain. 

"What is the matter with me to-night, I 
wonder ? " she marvelled. It was not alto- 



252 The EarPs Promise. 

gether the long, slow sweep of the tide ; it was 
not the remembrance of an ideal existence still 
unfulfilled, destined possibly never to be ful- 
filled, it was something conceived by regret 
and repentance which struggled within her 
for expression. 

The tones of Nettie's voice, full at times of 
the bitterness of suppressed grief, at others of 
the pathetic tenderness of unshed tears, of un- 
spoken sufi'ering, had pierced Grace's heart ; 
and, mingling with the feelings of impotent 
regret which she expressed for the sorrow 
golden-haired Annette had wrought for herself, 
came other memories, of a man who had loved 
her very dearly, in whose voice she had once 
heard the same agony of repressed emotion, 
who, in the gathering twilight, with the scent 
of the flowers floating on the evening air, and 
the sound of the waters creeping in upon the 
shore, had received his final answer, and said 
^' Good-bye " and ^' God bless you, Grace !" in 
the same breath. 

Yes, he had loved her ; Grace felt Nettie 
was right in this. Let her fortune have exer- 



What the Waves Whispered. 253 

cised as large an influence as it might, lie must 
have entertained perhaps as true an affection 
for her as she had ever inspired. 

"But he has got over that long, long ago," 
she said to herself, with a faint, cynical smile 
which the darkness concealed. "• How will it 
be with them all, though, if his father loses 
Woodbrook V 

How, indeed ! Grace had already traced the 
outlines of a picture, the grouped figures in 
which and the grim accessories whereof filled 
her with dismay. She had not evolved it al- 
together out of the intricacies of her imagina- 
tion, for once upon a time she chanced to be- 
hold a family party who might well enough 
have sat for the Eileys of the possible future. 

This was before Mrs. Hartley left Kings- 
lough, when it struck that lady duty required 
a visit to be paid to a certain Mrs. Wallace, of 
whose hospitality she and the late Mr. Hartley 
had partaken when the Wallaces lived near 
Glenwellan. With that curious fancy for re- 
turning to the scenes of bygone greatness which 
is characteristic of those whose greatness has 



254 The EarPs Promise. 

been of a limited and local description, the 
family one summer decided on reuniting and 
^' taking the sea " at Kilcurragh. Thither 
Mrs. Hartley invited Grace to accompany her ; 
and Grace, though she hated a covered car, 
and that covered car a hired one, with a hatred 
which can only be appreciated by those who 
loathe that species of conveyance, consented. 

Mrs. Hartley, who would neither make use of 
her friends' carriages, nor keep one herself, 
hired a car for the expedition, and on the way 
entertained Grace with the exposition of those 
practical ideas for which she was famous. 

First, she recited the glories of the Wallace 
family. She rehearsed the horses they rode, 
the carriages they di'ove, the servants they 
employed, the hangers-on they maintained. 
She described the dinners, where nothing was 
lacking save solvency ; the open house, which 
provided everything for every one save peace 
of mind for the owners. 

]^or were the glories of '^The Castle " for- 
gotten ; the attire of Mrs. Wallace when she 
attended successive parties at the absurd little 



What the Waves Whispered, 255 

Dublin Court, more ridiculous in its way than 
the courts of petty states abroad which have 
only about five pounds a week of revenue to 
maintain their magnificence, was duly described. 
As beads and rum to the Indian squaws and 
chiefs, so Dublin Castle to those Irish ladies 
and gentlemen who could never hope to enter 
Buckingham Palace ; and the analogy had not 
failed to strike so keen and bitter an observer 
of Hibernian character as Mrs. Hartley. 

'-'- But how did the ruin come about ?'' asked 
Grace, wearying of the detestable sideway 
motion of the car and her companion's satire. 
^' What had these unhappy people done or left 
undone that they should be poor as you say ?" 

^^How did the ruin come about?'' Mrs. 
Hartley repeated, putting on her judicial look 
and her black cap before pronouncing sentence 
upon the sins and shortcomings of those ^' mis- 
guided Irish Wallaces." '' My dear, how does 
ruin come about ? It comes through folly or 
misfortune, or carelessness or thoughtlessness, 
which are in England synonymous terms for 
reckless hospitality, mad dissipation, unwar- 



256 The EarPs Proinisc. 

rantable expenditure, and utter seU&sliness. 
In this country, whicli may some day be a 
great and wonderful country, but not till it is 
repeopled, re-religioned, recropped, rebuilt, and 
remodelled, you have a somewhat coarse proverb 
about foolish people who eat the calf out of a 
cow. Grace, child, in Ireland everybody is 
either starving the cow or eating the calf. 
The Wallaces ate the calf, as the Somerfords 
ate theirs, as fifty others I could name devoured 
it, feet, head, and tail." 

^^ And they lost everything," said Grace 
sorrowfully. 

^'They ate the calf, and then the cow, and 
then the cow's pasture," Mrs. Hartley replied. 
'' They kept open house till after the bailiffs 
came; they danced, feasted, dressed, kept up 
an appearance to the last with a coui'age 
worthy of a better cause ; then came the col- 
lapse ; the girls were invited to stay '• with 
friends ; ' the young men '- got appointments ; ' 
the father and mother went away for the 
benefit of Mr. Wallace's health. Then the 
place was sold; Lord Ardmorne bought it; 



What the Waves Whispered. 257 

then we knew Mr. Wallace was living on liis 
wife's small fortune ; then we heard the boys 
had gone to the bad, as all such boys do ; then 
we understood the young ladies were go- 
vernesses and companions, voild tout}'' 

'' Do you think they will like to see you?'' 
Grace asked, feeling that if she were in the 
Wallaces' position her spirits would not be 
particularly elated by the visit. 

^' I cannot tell whether they will care to see 
me," answered Mrs. Hartley, ''but I know 
they will be glad to say I have called. The 
twelve-and-sixpence this expedition must cost 
me would have been better in their pockets, 
no doubt, but there is a difficulty about sug- 
gesting an idea of that kind. The young 
ladies occasionally send me purses and useless 
articles of a similar description to dispose of 
amongst my friends, but as I have no friends 
who would buy them — at least, as I should 
be very sorry to ask my friends to do anything 
of the sort — I send my own money to the fair 
sellers and the goods to the next bazaar held 
for charitable or religious purposes. It is 

VOL. II. s 



258 The EarPs Promise. 

always a pity for the children of the last 
owner in such a case as this ; for them all the 
harass, all the mortification, all the petty shifts, 
all the contemptible meannesses which genteel 
poverty is forced to practise ; for them no 
cakes and ale, other people have had all that 
before they were thought of." 

^' It is very hard for them," Grace agreed ; 
and she thought it eminently hard for the 
Wallaces Avhen she found them ^^ taking holi- 
day " in poor lodgings, where they could have 
only one sitting-room, filled at low water with 
a fine odour of wholesome tar, and unwhole- 
some sea and land Avaif and decaying fish; 
when she beheld the once burly, reckless 
squire, who had ridden after the hounds so 
long as he could feed a hunter ; who had sung 
the best song, told the best story, been the 
most jovial companion of any man in the 
county, sitting drearily in an easy-chair by the 
window, dressed in old clothes that hung about 
his body, amusing himself by looking through 
a telescope little bigger then a child's play- 
thing at the vessels in the offing. 



TI7/a/ the Waves WJiispercd, 259 



And then there was the mother, careworn 
and prematurely old, dispensmg tea, the last 
hospitable oifer possible for her to make in their 
altered circumstances, too genuine a gentle- 
"woman to apologize for the poverty of their 
surroundings, too absolutely a woman not to 
feel the change of position bitterly ; the girls 
making the best of things and their holidays 
at the same time ; talking of the kindness of 
the friends Avith whom they had been " stay- 
ing," of the pleasant places they had seen, 
of the great people, far enough away from 
Kilcurragh and their real life you may be sure 
' — they had met. 

But there were gray streaks in Miss 
Wallace's hair, though any one, to have heard 
her talk, might readily have imagined she 
had really spent the years since her father 
left Glenwellan in travelling about for her oa^ti 
pleasure, and visiting on equal terms the no- 
bility and gentry of the United Kingdom ; 
whilst the beauty, the youngest, had lost her 
looks, and it was hopeless that even the size 
and colour of her once celebrated cj-es should 

s2 



26o The EarPs Promise, 

yet win her a husband rich enough and foolish 
enough to try to reinstate her family in their 
former rank. 

Pitiful — yes, indeed it was — to see the 
struggle those people waged between trying to 
forget the privations of their actual present 
and striving to remember the adventitious 
glories of their best-to-be-forgotten past. 

Terrible ! ay, truly, the fight to preserve 
appearances, to keep up a semblance of their 
old position by means of that rank impostor 
called genteel poverty ; as if poverty could ever 
be genteel, as though the moment it tried to be 
any thing besides respectable, it did not stand 
a good chance of becoming disreputable. 

All the depth of this reverse Grace had seen 
with her own eyes, all the comments which 
friends, enemies, and acquaintances could make 
upon it she had heard with her own ears, and 
though none of the Eileys, excepting John and 
the General, had ever been prime favourites 
with this favoured one of fortune, still there 
was something dreadful in the bare idea of 
people who had once held up their heads in 



What the Waves Whispered. 261 

the land exchanging the anxieties of how to 
keej) a fine estate for the worse trouble of 
considering how to provide daily bread. 
John would have to maintain them ; but then, 
unless he was doing remarkably well, how 
could he compass that if he were ever to 
marry ? Perhaps he never would marry, 
though that seemed an unlikely solution of 
the difficulty. Perhaps some of his sisters 
might marry, which, considering the state of 
Ireland and their fortunes, and the extreme 
disproportion of marriageable girls and marry- 
ing men, seemed more unlikely still. 

Suddenly a fresh idea struck Grace. The 
girls would go to India. Why had not they 
gone before ? All girls who had no money 
and any relations in India went there, and 
the}' all married well, and came home, ac- 
cording to Mrs. Hartley, lazy and delicate. 

But then perhaps John, who had peculiar 
and straitlaced notions concerning women, 
would object to engage with his sisters in a 
matrimonial speculation of that description; 
and indeed Grace felt no doubt he would. 



262 TJic EarPs Promise, 

"Well, then, so long as lie remained single, if 
the worst came to the worst, in other words, 
supposing "Woodbrook were lost, he would be 
able to contribute to the support of his family ; 
and when he married, his wife would ask one 
of the girls to go and live with them. 

Then, supposing that one girl married well, 
she could invite another to stay with her, and 
so the whole family would in due time be 
provided for. 

It was not a nice way, perhaps, of getting 
over the difficulty ; but still, when people get 
very poor, and the choice lies between marry- 
ing a stranger and entering a strange family 
as governess, people generally choose, when 
practicable, to marry the strange man. 

Grace had seen such cases, and had heard 
of many others, which set her wondering 
whether, in the event of her fortune making 
wings for itself, she could bring herself to 
contemplate a manage de convenance. 

^0, she decided. She would rather go out 
as a governess or seek a situation as companion. 
Some people may say this showed she knew 



Whal the Waves Whispered. 262, 

rather less of governesses and companions even 
than of marriage, but I think it was true for all 
that. 

Spite of her money, her apparent worldliness, 
her determination to have no man for lover or 
hnsband who should not be able to bring as 
much in the way of fortune at least as she, 
Grace Moffat was really made of that sort of 
flesh and blood to whom the idea of being sold, 
or selling itself, is utterly and totally repugnant, 
impossible of achievement. She could, had 
reverses come, have earned her living as a 
governess, for she was very fond of children, 
loved them in the abstract, loved them prac- 
tically ; or she might have tried to humour 
the whims of sickness, and lighten the cares 
and ailments of age, for she had a high sense 
of duty, a keen comprehension of an often for- 
gotten truth that when anything is given much 
has frequently to be returned, but she could 
not have married for a home. 

There is not much praise perhaps due to her 
for this. Marriage and love, like many other 
things, are to a great extent matters of feeling. 



264 The EarPs Promise. 

Her feeling concerning them was strong. For 
instance, when once she fonnd Mr. Eobert 
Somerforcl had been phiying at fast and loose 
with her, not all the titles in England, not all 
the money in the Bank of Ireland, conld have 
reconciled her to his snit. 

It was quite on the cards she might make an 
insane match some day, and repent it to the 
last hour of her life ; but at all events she would 
not make it with her eyes open. 

For these and other reasons the notion of 
John Eiley's sisters going out to India to 
establish themselves as he had done, to seek 
his fortune, did not recommend itself to her 
sentiments, but it did to her common sense. 
After all, there was nothing so exceptionally 
refined about the Misses Eiley as to render the 
idea repugnant to them. Why, then, did they 
not, had they not gone? Grace could only 
solve the problem in one way. John did not 
wish them to go — poor John — dear okl plain- 
featured John ? wliy could he not liave been 
content and lilvcd her as she liked \i\\\\ ? Why 
had he gone away and left his fatlier in the 



What the Waves Whispered. 265 

hands of the Philistines ? Of course she shonki 
write to Mrs. Hartley. What could Mrs. 
Hartley do, what would she say ? 

Altogether it was so astounding a thing to 
contemplate, even the possibility of Mr. Brady 
ousting out the Eileys and ensconcing himself 
in the Woodbrook nest, that Grace's mind 
refused to accept it as a possibilit3^ J^ever- 
theless she could not help wondering whether, 
in the event of the Eileys leaving, the next 
tenant would paint the entrance gates and 
repair the lodge. 

" If John were at home, I should ask him to 
have the trellis-work on the West Lodge nailed 
up," thought Grace ; ^'but of course, as he is 
not, I dare not mention the matter to any one." 

People who have plenty of money are able 
to attend to details which to people who have 
only plenty of worry seem maddeningly small. 

The latter, under the pressure of great 
trouble, consider trifles as of no importance, 
never thinking that trifles to tlie world are as 
straws, showing which quarter tlie Avinds of 
fortune blow from. 



266 Tlic EarPs Promise, 

Spite of these incongruities of thonght, 
however, the very idea of Mr. Brady taking 
possession of Woodbrook seemed like a hideous 
nightmare. That he should step into the 
Castle Farm was bad enough, but that he 
should also annex Woodbrook appeared im- 
possible. 

^Nevertheless Nettie had assured her such a 
change of o^vTiers was not merely possible, but 
probable ; and if this were really the case, and 
Grace's common sense saw no reason to doubt 
the fact, steps ought immediately to be taken 
to avert such a calamity. 

But how were they to be taken, and by 
whom ? If, next day, Mrs. Hartley were put 
in possession of the facts, what would she do ? 
what could she do if she would ? 

It WHS Nettie who had suggested Mrs. 
Hartley, but the result of Grace's musings 
tended towards consulting her father. 

He was a man, and, spite of her anti-matri- 
monial views, Grace had more fiiith in the 
capabilities of men than of women; of late 
she and her father had been much more 



JV/mf the Waves Whispered. 267 

together than was hitherto the case ; her cousin 
was gone, and neither ]Mr. Moffat nor his 
daughter stroA'e to fill her place "with another 
companion. 

They were happier alone. People said 
Grace was growing like her father, and that as 
she got older she would feel as great a distaste 
for general society as he; but this was not 
quite true ; Grace loved long quiet walks, but 
the company of her fellows had its charms for 
her as well. Still she and her father had dove- 
tailed into companionship. Her enthusiasm 
had fitted itself somehow naturally into his 
indifference. She was content he should laugh 
at her. He was more than content perhaps to 
tolerate her impetuosity, her indiscriminate 
charity, her wide sympathy with, and ready 
inclination to help, the poor. 

If study had taught him as little as it 
usually does most scholars of tilings likely 
to be useful in daily life, it had at least 
imbued him with toleration towards his own 
daughter. 

It enabled him to draw inferences about her 



268 The EarPs Promise. 

which a less educated man would have anived 
at by means of intuition. 

Had she been more selfish, less unso- 
phisticated, would she have loved him so much, 
herself so little ? He had but one trouble 
about her, she Avas a very lonely maiden. 
Before he went he would like to have seen her 
married. 

To whom ? That was the difficulty. After 
Eobert Somerford's defection, he , could not, 
looking around on the various men Avho aspired 
to his daughter's hand, look upon one of them 
with favour. 

'^ Well," he reflected, ''single happiness is 
better than double misery, nevertheless I could 
wish to have seen my Grace the wife of some 
honest gentleman ere this '' 

Honest gentlemen, however, are always a 
little shy about trying to win heiresses, and so 
father and daughter, having been throAvn much 
together of late, had learned to understand 
each other better and love each other more. 

For which reason Grace resolved to take 
Mr. Moffat into her confidence. If she told 



What the Waves WJiispcrcd. 269 



him slie ^vas not at liberty to name her infor- 
mant, he woukl trouble her with no questions, 
and his daughter had an instinctive feeling 
that, if by any means "Woodbrook could be 
preserved to the Eileys, he would find that 
means. 

He had been willing to help her in the 
matter of the Scotts, and only failed to do so 
because it was a matter in which no help 
could be given. 

He would be able perhaps to make some 
useful suggestions, at any rate she would talk 
the matter over with him. 



270 



CHAPTER X. 

WHEX DOCTOES DIFFER. 

Decided as to the course she slioukl j^ursiie^ 
Grace quickened her steps, and proceeded at a 
more rapid pace along the broad, gravelled 
walk, -where the branches of the trees and 
rare shrubs which abounded at Bayview 
drooped over the murmuring sea. 

In the semi-darkness she could see her home ; 
an oblong substantial house, with its windows 
opening on two sides to tei races commanding 
wide and beautiful views over land and water. 

Some former owner of Bayview, possessed 
of that taste for landscape gardening which at 
one time must have been as distinguishing a 



W/icn Doctors Differ. 271 

trait of Irisli character as it no^\' appears to be 
of English, had lodged Bay view iu a perfect 
bower}^ of all rare and exquisite shrubs ; shrubs 
that, though they have become common enough 
since and easy enough of purchase, are still 
not so generally to be found planted in the 
grounds surrounding houses of moderate pre- 
tensions, owned by gentlemen of modest though 
sufficient income, as they should. Between 
the French windows were trained, on trellis- 
work against the wall, myrtles that grew 
luxuriantly out-of-doors, and were covered 
year after year with bud and flower. Peeping 
here and there through the dark green foliage, 
and laying their bright cheeks against the 
white myrtle blossoms, were roses, pinlv and 
red. Pyracantha, honeysuckles, magnolias, 
and a creeper with great leaves, the name of 
which I never knew, the like of which I have 
never seen elsewhere, filled up other spaces 
and covered the bed-room windows with a 
marvellous amount of varied greenery. A 
hedge of sweet-briar, along which passion- 
flowers trailed in wild profusion, growing as 



272 TJic EarVs ProvLisc. 

freely as briony and convolvulus elsewhere, 
divided the southern terrace and pleasure- 
grounds from the kitchen-gardens, whilst the 
western terrace terminated in a flight of stone 
steps, with heavy stone balustrades, leading on 
to the avenue. 

Beyond the terrace lay the lawns and shrub- 
beries, the former studded with artistically- 
placed groups of trees and evergreens, the 
latter a tangled mass of tangled surprises to 
visitors who found themselves one moment 
admiring the golden flowers of the common 
laburnum and the next pausing to look at a 
magnificent Italian broom ; who could scarcely 
believe the Portuguese laurel could ever bloom 
with such a lavish wealth of white cones as 
they beheld rising tier over tier above their 
lieads ; who rubbed their fingers gently up the 
stem of the velvety shumach and ate syringa 
leaves, that resemble cucumbers in their flavour, 
and broke buds off the clustering bunches of 
yellow roses ; while young ladies twined sprays 
of that exquisite little plant known to simple 
people by no long Latin name, but only as 



When Doctors Differ. 273 



^^ the bridal wreatli," or permitted long pen- 
dants of the lilac laburnum to float in the 
breeze with their curls. 

A chapter would scarce suffice me to cata- 
logue the names of the shrubs and trees for 
the possession of whicli Bayyiew was famous ; 
but Grace knew them all by heart. She knew 
the de^wy mornings and the fine evenings after 
rain, when the sweet-briar gave forth its 
sweetest fragrance. She knew where the ear- 
liest bouquets of lily of the valley were to be 
gathered, the sheltered nooks where grew 
primroses and violets were not hidden from 
her. From a child she had been acquainted 
with the haunt of the wood anemone, and the 
sunny spots where lady's fingers made soft 
cushions of yellow and brown and green ; and 
when the little boys and girls, her tiny friends 
from Kingslough, came out to spend a day at 
Bayview, who could show them so well as she 
the exact bend in the shallow stream where 
^' apple-pie" grew sweet and tall amongst 
reeds and " sagans," or tliat piece of undrained 
ground where the rushes stood thick enough 

VOL. II. T 



2 74 1^^^ EarPs Promise, 

to delight the hearts of those who had come 
trooping out to make swords and parasols and 
butterfly cages ? 

And scarcely a nook, or dell, or upland, or 
winding walk, or ripple of the stream over the 
stones but was associated somehow or another 
with John Eiley. Here he had carried her 
over the stepping-stones when they seemed too 
wet and slippery for her childish feet ; there 
he held her hand tight w^hile she jumped over 
a little ravine. She could not help remem- 
bering the day Avhen he climbed the pine-tree 
and shook the firs to obtain cones to fill her 
basket, which he subsequently carried home. 
She had dragged him out to bonfires in the 
fields, and insisted on his roasting potatoes for, 
and eating them after vv^ards with, her ; which 
was not a form of entertainment John Eiley 
relished. She remembered the very hour, and 
day, and minute when he put the strings of a 
tartan velvet bag, the possession whereof made 
her exceeding proud, round her neck, and 
called it her pannier, and how^ she slapped his 
face, and how her father, coming up at the 



When Doctors Differ. 275 

moment, was exceeding angry, and how John 
made all peace between them with a few plea- 
sant words. They had gathered shells together, 
and collected sea-weeds, and made arbonrs of 
fir-branches, and paved them with cockle- 
shells. And now she was a child no longer, 
no longer a girl, qnite a young woman, who 
but for her exceeding beauty would already 
have been called an old maid, and the pleasant 
days were over, and John, having made a 
mistake in loving Grace Moffat, was in India ; 
and Grace Moffat in Ireland was thinking how, 
if she loved Bay view so much, John would 
endure the idea of losing Woodbrook, which 
Avas not merely a residence, but an estate, a 
place any nobleman might have liked to own 
and beautify ! 

Of late a word has become fashionable in 
leaders and novels which appears to me fre- 
quently used without just cause ; its constant 
iteration at all events sounds unpleasant in 
my own ears. 

IN'evertheless, employed with caution, it is 
an expressive word, and I must tliereforc bo 



2/6 TJic EarPs Promise. 



excused when I say the most dependable sort 
of pity is that Avhich is cumnlatiyc. I mean 
that in which one layer of compassion is added 
to another till a compact and dependable whole 
is erected upon a sufficient foundation. 

This pity Grace Moffat now experienced for 
the Eileys. At first it had rather vexed her 
to think she should be called upon to sym- 
pathize in or interfere with the troubles of 
people who were so much less than nothing to 
her, that towards some members of the family 
at all events she felt almost antagonistic. But 
a little reflection, and perhaps the Avarning, 
sorrowful, sobbing of the waves softened her 
heart. She thought of Nettie, once so dear to 
her, who of her own act had alienated all old 
friends, who would liave nothing now to do 
with old friends, let them beg never so hard 
for her intimacy. She thought of the Glen- 
dares and the Somerfords, whose liking for her 
had been transient as spring smishine. She 
thought of Mrs. Hartley, who, long before, musty 
like a sensible woman, have formed fresh ac- 
quaintances, and taken them (and their English 



Whoi Doctors Differ. 277 

accent) more cordially to her bosom than she 
had ever done any one of the inhabitants of 
Kingslough or its vicinity. She thonght of 
Amos Scott, who would have none of her help 
unless it could be given in his own way. She 
thought of her pensioners, who, if she died 
the next day, would, spite of their Presbyterian 
and predestinarian ideas, say from the mere 
force of habit contracted by long intercourse 
with Eoman Catholics, ''God rest her; it's 
herself was a good lady ! " and greet a charitable 
successor with, ^' God bless her; it's herself 
that's a kind lady !" and then she thought of 
the love she had once thought of comparatively 
little account — that of her father. She had 
him, she had her home, but what had John 
Eiley ? 

He might have made friends, no doubt, but 
friends are no enduring possession. He might 
have formed a fresh attachment, but in India 
it was unlikely the object of that attachment 
would be a lady largely endoAved with this 
world's goods. He might have won golden 
opinions, but something more than these is 



278 The EarPs Promise. 



needful to make a man prosperous and 
happy. 

He had his family, but supposing the mem- 
bers composing it were reduced to poverty, 
what should they profit him ? At his father' .s 
death, Woodbrook, encumbered, beautiful 
Woodbrook, must come to him, if it were saved 
from Mr. Brady; but in either case, what a 
future presented itself I Woodbrook his, with 
its mortgages, and burdened by the mainte- 
nance of his mothers and sisters; "Woodbrook 
not his, and both parents and his sister ta 
provide for. 

Poor John, whom she could remember light- 
hearted John,' it was a hard lot to contemplate ! 
Each generation had remained true to the tra- 
ditions of the family, and made the Eiley 
position worse. Would John make it worse^ 
even if Mr. Brady did not ? Would he marry 
some girl without a shilling, and perpetuate 
the poverty that had for generations been as 
certain an inheritance as Woodbrook ? 

It all seemed very dark to Grace, very dark 
and pitiful. Even to those who have tasted of 



When Doctors Di^cr. 279 

its bitterness, tlie draught of misfortune does 
not appear so unendurable a potion to swallow 
as to those who have had nothing but sweets 
presented to them. 

Grace dreaded poverty, the rich generally 
do, and as she thought of her own fair home, 
a great pity for John Eiley, a pity different 
from anything she had ever previously felt for 
any one, welled up in her heart. It seemed 
only like yesterday that she had given him 
his dismissal, and never an honester suitor had 
asked her hand since then. 

She would go straight to her father and tell 
him what she had heard, and with this inten- 
tion Grace passed into the house through one 
of the windows opening on to the terrace. 

The room she entered was yet unlighted, 
and she was about to ring for candles, when, 
recollecting that she still wore her shawl and 
bonnet, she crossed the apartment with the 
intention of changing her di'ess before sum- 
moning a servant. 

Though there was nothing unusual in the 
fact of her ramblinc: about the irrounds after 



28o The EarPs Promise, 

dusk, on the present occasion the feeling that 
she had something to conceal induced her to 
seek concealment ; and she ^vas hastening to 
her dressing-room, when in the hall the cook, 
with white, startled- face, confronted her, — 

^^ "We've been looking for you everywhere, 
Miss Grace. The master — " 

Grace laid her hand on the back of a chair 
to steady herself. 

^'What is the matter?" she asked; ^' what 
has happened ? where is my father ? " 

'^He is in his own room. Miss Grace, and 
the doctors with him. He was took — " 

But Grace waited to hear no more, she ran 
up the staircase, and along the corridor to a 
room at the extreme end, the door of which 
stood open. 

She could hear a man speaking in a voice 
hushed yet excited, evidently insisting upon 
some course antagonistic to his auditor, and as 
she paused for one second in her progress, 
that auditor replied in cool, clear tones, — 

"We will wait till Miss Moifat comes; she 
shall decide between us." 



When Doctors Differ. 281 

''But I tell you I must do It. Would you 
have me see the man die before my eyes ? " 

" I tell you it shall not be done," the other 
answered, adding immediately, " Here is Miss 
Moffat." 

Grace did not gi'eet either of them ; she 
went straight over to the bed where lay her 
father, apparently lifeless. 

His head rested on the pillow, his grey hair 
fell tangled about his face, his eyes were closed, 
his arms hung powerless beside his body, and 
his hands, white, wan, and nerveless, were as 
the hands of a corpse. 

She had courage, there was no question 
about that ; she had received the most fearful 
shock a human being can sustain, and yet she 
neither wept, shrieked, nor exclaimed. Had 
she been alone with him, there is little doubt 
she would have flung herself beside the bed 
and sobbed and cried like any other woman ; 
but before the strangers present, strangers at 
the moment, though they were only Doctor 
Girvan and Mr. Hanlon, and some of the 
servants, she could not lay bare her heart; 



The EarPs Pn 



v?niSL\ 



and involuntarily all in the room were silenced 
for the moment by her silence, calmed by 
her calmness. 

^^What is it?" she, asked, speaking to 
Doctor Girvan, but including Mr. Hanlon in 
her question by a look. 

^'Apoj^lexy," said the Doctor unhesita- 
tingly. 

^'It is no such thing," declared Mr. Hanlon 
stoutly. 

^^And he should be bled instantly," continued 
Dr. Girvan, ignoring his opponent's remark, 
and fingering his lancet lovingly. 

^^ Miss Moffat, so certainly as yoiu' father 
is bled he is a dead man," exclaimed Mr. 
Hanlon earnestly. '^ If Dr. Girvan persists 
in bleeding, I must decline to be asso- 
ciated with him in the treatment of the 
case." 

" And if I don't bleed him," said Dr. Girvan, 
^' there will be no case to treat." 

Grace looked at the motionless figure, then 
at the old doctor trembling with anger, striv- 
ing to repress the fur}^ he felt it would be 



Jl/iCJi Doctors Differ. 283 

unseeml}^ to slioAV, and again at tlie handsome 
confident face of the younger man. 

She had known Dr. Girvan since she had 
known anything; he was their regular at- 
tendant; in all her childish ailments he had 
given her kind words and smiles, and sent her 
detestable medicines ; when in her later years 
she caught cold and was troubled with cough, 
sore throat, or any other malady, he and none 
other had treated her. For Avell-nigh half a 
century he had cured or killed the gentr}^ of 
Kingslough and its neighbourhood, and there 
was comfort in that reflection. To be sure he 
knew nothing, and professed to know nothing, 
of new-fangled ways ; but then the fashion of 
living and dying is one which knows little 
alteration. Being born, being buried, are 
matters susceptible of so little change that 
Grace might well be excused if in her ex- 
tremity she fastened her gaze more confidently 
on the old light than on the new. Mr. Hanlon 
might be very clever, but after all he could 
not have Dr. Girvan's experience. 

Encouraged by her manifest leaning to 



2 84 The EarPs P. 



rojmse. 



his view of tlie case, the latter said 
eagerly,— 

''Each instant is precious. Miss Grace. 
Had I alone been summoned, I should have 
let blood the moment I came." 

"As I objected to your doing so, our 
patient has still a chance of living," observed 
Mr. Hanlon, without the least sign of excite- 
ment; ''but now, if Miss Moffat wishes, I 
will at once retire from the room and the 
case." 

" No — no, pray stay ! " she entreated ! 

'' I cannot remain unless I am allowed to 
pursue my own course of treatment," said 
Doctor Girvan. 

"I said Ave would leave it for Miss Moffat 
to decide," remarked Mr. Hanlon, with exas- 
perating civility, but with an anxious look in 
his face nevertheless. " Doctor Girvan says 
this attack is apoplectic, and should be treated 
by blooding. I say it is not apoplectic, and 
that bleeding may be a fatal error." 

" I tell you I have seen a score of cases of 
apoplectic seizures for one that can have come 



Wlicn Doctors Differ. 285 

across you," said Doctor Girvan, advancing to 
the patient. ^^And I have attended Mr. 
Moffat and Mr. Moffat's family— " 

^^Let his daughter speak," interrupted Mr. 
Hanlon, speakioig sternly and peremptorily. 
"Miss Moffat, the decision rests with 
you." 

^'It is cruel of you to force such a re- 
sponsiblility upon me," said Grace hoarsely. 
"You understand medicine, I do not; save 
him," she added, pointing towards her father, 
" that is all I can tell you." 

" But, Miss Moffat," began Mr. Hanlon. 

"Ah! stand back, can't you ?" exclaimed 
Doctor Girvan brusquely ; " we're wasting 
precious time in child's talk. And indeed you 
are right, Miss Grace, and it was cruel to try 
to lay such a burden on you ; but never mind, 
I'll take all the responsibility upon myself. 
IS'ow if you'll just Avalk out of the room for a 
minute or two — " 

"A moment," interrupted Mr. Hanlon. 
" Miss Moffat, what I am doing may be un- 
professional. Nevertheless I remonstrate 



286 The EarPs Promise, 

against Doctor Girvan's proposed course of 
treatment, and implore you not to counte- 
nance it." 

^^To hear you, anybody might think I 
was not ten years of age," remarked the 
Doctor. 

'^ Miss Moffat, speak for mercy's sake ! " 
implored Mr. Hanlon ; ''I pledge my re- 
putation this is no apoplectic iit." 

^^ As if you should know ! " muttered 
Doctor Girvan contemptuously. 

^' Though I was sent for, I feel I am an 
intruder here," continued Mr. Hanlon, imheed- 
ing the interruption. 

'^ That is true at any rate. Indeed and 
you are," commented Doctor Girvan. 

^^ But I cannot — being here — see a man 
bled to death without entering my protest 
against such a proceeding." 

*^ Will you be quiet ? " requested Doctor 
Girvan; ^^ can't you see you are wringing his 
daughter's heart ? " 

^^ Miss Moffat, will you trust your father to 
me ? " asked Mr. Hanlon. 



When Doctors Differ. 287 

^^Sure the doctor must know best," 
wliispered a housemaid, on Avhom the new 
comer's youth and good looks had made no 
impression. 

'^ Indeed, and Miss Grace," ventured the 
butler, Avho had always been accustomed to 
volunteer his advice and opinions, as is the not 
unpleasing habit of all Irish servants, from the 
highest to the lowest, the highest perhaps the 
most frequently. ^^ Indeed, an' Miss Grace, 
I think if the masther himself could speak, 
which send he may soon, he would say, 
lave it to the docthor, and let Iiim bleed 
me freely." 

^^ Miss Moffat, won't you speak?" said 
Mr. Ilanlon, glancing at the two last speakers 
looks that went through them, so they subse- 
quently averred, like flashes of lightning. 

^^"We have lost too much time abeady," 
said Dr. Girvan, with an air of busy im- 
portance, for he saw Grace, though divided, 
felt inclined to walk in the old footsteps. 

'^ Mr. Ilanlon," she said, ^'I do not trust 
you less because I trust Doctor Girvan more ;" 



288 The EarPs P> 



romise. 



then she stooped and kissed brow, and lip, 
and cheek of the man lying there motionless, 
and after saj^ing, '-'- Doctor, you wonld not 
deceive me, yon will save my father," left the 
room. 

Mr. Hanlon followed her. She did not go 
downstairs, but stood in the corridor, leaning 
against the wall. He went into one of the 
rooms close at hand, and fetched her a chair, 
then he retreated a few steps, and remained 
with head bent and hands plunged in his 
pockets, looking gloomily at the pattern of 
the carpet. 

There was silence for a minute, which he 
broke by saying, — 

" I can do nothing more here, so I "will bid 
you good-night, Miss Moffat. May I send any 
of the servants up to you ? " 

She put out her hand, which he took 
and held. ''Do not go; oh, pray, pray 
stay ! " 

''But I assure you — " 

'' Never mind assuring me ; stay." 

"Doctor Girvan does not wish it." 



W/ien Doctors Differ, 289 

'' I wisli it J' 

It was very hard to hold out, but still Mr. 
Hanlon made a feint of doing so. 

'•^ In my private capacity, Miss Moffat, I 
would do anything on earth to oblige you, but 
in my professional — " 

^' Forget your professional pride for a little 
while," she entreated. ^^You told me to 
decide; and how could I decide otherwise, 
when we had known him so long, when my 
father trusted him so much ? " 

^^ I do not sec how. 3'ou could." 

^' Then you will stay?" 

^^ If I stay, will you do something for me in 
return?" 

^^ Tell me what it is ? " 

^^ Send to Kilcurragh for Doctor Murney, 
and to Glcnwellan for Doctor Connelley; 
send without a moment's delay." 
'-'- You think he is in such danger ? " 

He turned his face away ; he could not 
bear she should see the answer he knew was 
written there. 

'^ Do as you like ! " she said feebly. ^^ I leave 

VOL. II. u 



290 



The EarPs Pn 



omisc. 



it all to YOU. I — I must go to Mm now," and 
slie rose and walked a s-tep or two towards 
the room where her father lay, then j^aused, 
wavered, and would have fallen, but that Mr. 
Hanlou, anticipating this result, caught her in 
his arms. 

He carried her into the room whence he had 
brought the chair, and, laying her on a sofa, 
left her, ^nthout making even an effort to 
restore her to consciousness, but, hastening 
downstairs, found the cook, whom he sent to 
her mistress, saying, — 

^' She has fainted, but don't try to bring 
her to. I shall see her again in a few 
minutes.'' . 

'^ Which are the best pair of horses you 
have in the stables, Mick?" he asked, ad- 
dressing the groom, who was in the kitchen, 
waiting to hear if he was likely to be 
wanted. 

" How is the masther, yer honour ? " 

'^ Badly enough, and likely to bo woi*se," 
was the answer; '-'- but about the horses ? " 

'^Miss Grace's mare is the fastest, but the 



lVkc]i Doctors Differ, 291 

bay the mastherj preserve him, bought last 
month, has a power of outcome in him." 

^^Who is there here you can trust to take 
one of them to Glenwellan with a note for 
Doctor Connelley?" 

'^ Sure and I can ride there myself." 

^^ !N'o, I want you to go to Kilcurragh and 
bring back Doctor Murney. You had best 
take the tax-cart." 

^*' Save us. Doctor ; is he that bad ? " 

^^ Yes, quite as bad as that," Mr. Hanlon 
answered. ^^ Some of you help Mick with the 
harness. I will have the notes ready by the 
time you are." 

Mightily astonished was the mare at having 
a saddle slipped on her at that time of night ; 
pettishly she champed the bit and struck 
her off forefoot against the rough pavement of 
the yard, whilst Mick tightened her girths by 
the simple expedient of planting his knee in 
her stomach, pulling at the same time buckles 
and straps as far home as he could get 
them. 

'^Piide like the devil, Jerry," were Mick's 



292 The EarPs Promise. 

parting instructions, and, nothing loth to 
follow such a congenial example, Jerry, after 
the first mile and a half, which he took 
^' modtherately," for fear of breaking the marc's 
wind, did the rest of the distance at a hard 
gallop. 

" And the beauty niver turned a hair," 
said Jerry, when reciting subsequently the 
marvels of that wild ride. Perhaps if the 
mare's story told to her equine companions 
could have been heard, her account of the state 
of affairs would have differed slightly from 
that of her rider. 

As for the bay, never before had that 
animaPs powers of outcome been so severely 
tested. Up hill and down dale it was all one 
to Mick. With a whoop and a ''• now lad " 
he lifted him into a stretching canter up the 
inclines, with a tight rein and a cut of the 
whip he warned him to take no false step 
whilst spinning down declivities steep enough 
to appal the understandings of ordinary 
people. 

Horses and men did their best, as Irish 



When Doctors Differ. 293 

horses and Irish men will in moments of ex- 
citement and time of need, and that best 
was, as is ever the case in that land of strange 
contrasts, something super-excellent; but it 
was all labour in vain. 

Had they flown on the wind, had the horses 
been birds, had they been able to cleave the 
air with wings, the help they brought must 
still have proved too late. 

With the first drop of blood, the chances of 
life began to flutter : when the last was drawn, 
and Dr. Girvan heaved a sigh of satisfaction, 
hope, so far as tliis world was concerned, had 
fled for Mr. Moffat. 

"He will do now," said Dr. Girvan, com- 
placently addressing Mr. Hanlon. 

But that gentleman shook his head, — 

" We shall see," he answered : and they 
did see. 



294 



CHAPTER XI. 

NO CHANGE. 

When Grace recovered consciousness, slie 
looked around the room and lier eyes rested 
witli an expression of mute appeal on Dr. 
Girvan, who stood near. 

'^ All is going on well," he answered. With 
a murmured thanksgiving she laid her head 
hack against the sofa pillows, when her glance 
chanced to fall on Mr. Hanlon. 

^^ You do not think all Is well ? " she said. 

^'I have not seen the patient,'' he replied. 
^^ He is, of course, solely in Dr. Gir van's hands 
until the physicians for whom you have sent 
arrive." 



No Change^ 295 



'^You have sent for further advice, Miss 
Grace ? " remarked Dr. Girvan inquiringly. 
'-^ Could you not trust me ? " 

^^I can trust you," she answered; ^'but he 
is my father. I must go to him no^v," and 
without asking another question she went. 

^' This is your doing," said Dr. Girvan to 
Mr. Hanlon as the door of the sick chamber 
closed behind her. 

^^ Don't let us quarrel, Doctor," replied the 
younger man sadly, and not without a certain 
dignity. '' Before very long, I am afraid you 
will find something is your doing, which you 
will regret till the last hour of your life." 

''Do you think, Sir, I do not understand 
my business ? " 

" I think you have misunderstood this case. 
Mr. Moffat is as good as a dead man, and you 
have killed him." 

After delivering himself of which pleasant 
utterance, Mr. Hanlon walked out of the room, 
down the stairs, and out into the night. 

lie did not go home ; not a tliought of 
deserting Grace j\loffat in lior extremity 



296 The EarPs Proinue. 



occurred to this man, who if he was foolish 
was chivabous. He passed through the still 
unlighted apartments, and made his way on to 
the terrace. There he paced up and down, 
inhaling the fragrance of the flowers and 
shrubs ; listening to the wind rustling among 
the trees, and the murmur of the sea washing 
in upon the shore ; thinking of the man 
stricken so suddenly ; thinking of the woman so 
grand in her sorrow, so quiet in her grief, and 
of something else also which if now told would 
reveal whatever plot this poor story holds. 

There arc times when the mind seems a mere 
mirror, when it can only receive the impression 
of that immediately presented before it. In 
all times of sudden and agonized trouble, I 
think this is the case. When a fearful accident 
occurs, it is to the latest telegram we all 
instinctively direct our eyes, whether the 
accident concerns us personally or not ; and 
in like manner when some calamity comes to 
pass, which involves us and those dear to us^ 
we dwell on the result, never troubling our.- 
selves to inquire into details, until we have 



Ah Change. 297 



recovered from tlie effect of the first s^yift and 
stunning blow. 

It was thus with Grace Moffat at all events. 
She did not know, she did not ask to kno^A', 
how the seizure occurred. She had never 
been with sickness, was utterly ignorant of the 
fact that a woman ought to know almost as 
much of illness as a doctor. 

Afterwards she understood that when the 
butler, supposing his master had long left the 
dining-room, entered that apartment he found 
Mr. Moffat lying face downwards on the floor ; 
that he, having despatched ^'Jamesey" — an 
odd boy who loafed about the kitchen and had 
no settled position or employment, unless it 
might be to bear the blame of all faults com- 
mitted, and perform all work left undone by 
every one else — for the doctor, the lad rushing 
down the road was encountered by two retainers 
of the house of Moffat, who, hearing the news, 
started off, one with Jamesey to Dr. Girvan, 
the other by himself to Mr. Hanlon. There 
were factions at Bayview, as in every other 
establishment in Ireland ; some of the servants 



298 The EarVs Promise, 



inclining to old ways and people including Dr. 
Girvan, and others leaning to the new school 
of which in Kingslough Mr. Hanlon was the 
exponent. 

There were those in the town who could not 
have died happily had the young surgeon tried 
to cure them; there w^ere others who would 
scarcely have accepted life at the hands of Dr. 
Girvan : and thus it came to pass that both 
men were sent for, and both arrived within a 
few minutes of each other. 

Then commenced the disagreement termi- 
nated by Grace. 

''I am no better than a coward," thought 
Mr. Hanlon, as he walked up and down through 
the night. ^^Why did I ever leave the matter 
for him to decide ? When he is gone she will 
continually be reproaching herself. I ought 
to have insisted on sending for Murney at 
once ; I ought to have kept that doting idiot 
off his prey by force if necessary." 

At that moment a hand was laid on his arm. 
It belonged to Grace, who liad com-e so softly 
along the terrace that he failed to hear her 
footsteps. ^'Mr. Hanlon," she began. 



No Change. 299 



'^Yes, Miss Moffat?" 

'*I want you to tell me the truth," she 
said. ^^ Xever mind medical etiquette. For- 
get you arc a doctor, that I am lih daughter ; 
speak to me as you might to a stranger. What 
do you think of him ? ' ' 

'^'I think he is in the hands of God," 
answered Mr. Hanlon. The demagogues of 
those days had one advantage over the dema- 
gogues of this ; they did acknowledge a power 
higher than themselves, and were occasionally 
awed by the remembrance of its existence. 

'^ But what can man do?" she asked, her 
sweet voice shrill with the anguish of her soul. 

^^We shall know when the other doctors 
come." 

She understood he had no hope; and she 
stood for a moment silent, listening all imcon- 
sciously to the sobbing of the sea, to the 
sighing of the night wind through the trees, to 
the voices of silence that keep whispering and 
and ever muttering through the darkness. 

Already the lonely, awful journey seemed 
begun ; over the waters something blacker 



300 The EarP s Promise. 

than niglit hovered. The mighty angel with 
the slow wings brooded over the place. The 
scent of the flowers appeared to her heavy and 
sickly, the slight breeze as it touched her 
cheek failed to refresh her. 

*^ Let ns go in," she said, '-^ the darkness 
frightens me," and she drew him into the 
drawing-room. 

^' Come upstairs," she pleaded. '^ See if 
something cannot be done. Come and look at 
him. Forget you are a doctor; think of 
yourself only as a friend. Don't stand upon 
your dignity. Help me, I am so lonely. He 
is all I have in the world." 

'-'" Miss Moffat, if by dying this night I could 
save your father, I would do it. These are 
not idle words. There is no one who would 
miss me much after the first. Some one Avould 
take up my work Avhere I laid it doA^Ti and 
finish it." 

And there he suddenly stopped, and she 
instinctively withdrew her hand ; and then 
with the impulse of a higher and nobler 
womanhood, which raised Grace on a loftier 



A^o Change. 301 



pedestal than women of her age generally 
occupy, she laid it again on his arm and said, — 

^' Do not talk in that way ; I cannot bear to 
hear such words from you." 

^^ Why not?" he asked. 

^^ Because you have your life to live," she 
answered simply, ^^ and it is not good to begin 
a long journey with a weary heart." 

A prophetic sentence, one which both re- 
called when the crisis of his existence arrived. 

Side by side they ascended the staircase, and 
stepped lightly along the corridor, and entered 
the room where Mr. Moffat lay. 

Already Dr. Girvan's confidence in the cor- 
rectness of his diagnosis was shaken. There 
was something in the look of the man who lay 
there, still insensible, which he had never seen 
in the face of one who came back from the 
borders of the Valley of the Shadow. Accord- 
ing to his anticipations, the patient should 
already have been exhibiting some sign of 
recovery, some tokeu, however slight, of 
retui-ning animation ; but there was no change 
as yet, none, unless it might be that the colour 



302 TJie EarVs Piwnisc. 

Avas of a more leaden pallor, that the hand 
he touched la}" more like that of a dead man, 
that it became difficult to hear the breath, that 
in a word no symptom he had calculated upon 
showed itself, that on the contrary all the 
symptoms were unlike those he had mentally 
predicted must aj^pear. 

1^0 w, as Dr. Girvan himself would- have 
said, he had not lived his life for nothing ; old- 
fashioned he could fairly be called, bigoted he 
might be; ignorant of the latest discoveries, 
behind the age in many things he undoubtedly 
was, but by no means a fool in his profession. 
He did not know what was the matter with 
Mr. Moffat, but he was almost certain now^ 
that he had mistaken his ailment, and if so — 

'-^ What do you think of him ? " he whispered 
to Mr. Hanlon, after another doubtful look at 
his patient. 

Mr. Hanlon shook his head. 

" Can you think of anything ? " A clammy 
perspiration was standing on his forehead and 
his hands were shaking with nervous dread as 
he asked the question. 



A^o Change. 303 



^^ The others may. As things are I should 
be afraid to try.'' 

^^ Don't be afraid, man. If there is anything 
can be done let us try it. I will take the 
blame if blame there be. Only don't let us 
see him die before oiu^ eyes without lifting a 
hand to save him. 

"What are you talking about?" Grace 
asked at this juncture, crossing to where they 
stood. 

"We are consulting, Miss Mofiiit," an- 
swered Mr. Hanlon ; then turning to Dr. 
Girvan, he said, " I should try a stimulant." 

"A stimulant in apoplexy ! " exclaimed the 
older man in an accent of horror. 

"It is not apoplexy, and if it were, in 
this case, I should try it still." 

" I do not know what to say I am sure," re- 
marked Dr. Girvan. But Mr. Hanlon cut 
short the discussion by himself going for 
what he wanted, and administering it to their 
patient. 

After a short while a little tremor could be 
observed, and a slight decrease in the ghastly 
whiteness of the sick man's face. 



304 TJic Earl's Promise. 

^^ That has done him good," said Dr. Girvan 
ill a tone of relief. " What should you think 
of trying a little more ? " 

^' If you like," answered Mr. Hanlon; then 
added, ^' [N'ow we will let him rest till Murney 
and Connelley come." 

And they sat down ; Dr. Girvan close beside 
the bed, Mr. Hanlon beside one of the win- 
dows looking towards the east, where the first 
streaks of dawn were already appearing. 

Grace came to him as he sat there. '^ What 
do you think of my father now ? " she asked, 
and he saw that her large eyes were heavy 
with the weight of unshed tears. 

^'- 1 can only repeat that he is in the hands 
of God," answered Mr. Hanlon, rising and 
offering her his seat. ^' Man could tell you no 
more than that, till some change occur for 
better or for worse." 

She took his chair, and drawing another to 
the window, Mr. Hanlon seated himself near 
her, and whilst both their eyes involuntarily 
sought the cast, their thoughts wandered 
silently and sadly on their separate ways. 



A^ Change, 305 



^^ They are here!" Grace at length cx- 
'claimed. Her strained ear had been the first 
to catch the sound of wheels. That beauty 
the mare was not back before the horse with 
the ^^ power of outeomo in him;" but ere 
another half-hour, Dr. Connelley, who had 
ridden Mr. Moffat's latest purchase, leaving 
Jerry to follow with his own hack, was also in 
the house. 

^^ You had better go down to him/' said Mr. 
Hanlon to Dr. Girvan; he did not wish to in- 
fluence Dr. Murney's opinion by any statement 
of his own ; and as the old man left the room 
lie added, speaking to Grace,— 

'' I think you had better not stay here. I 
will come to you presently." 

'^ And tell me exactly what they say ?" 

lie hesitated for a moment, then answered,- 
^^ Yes, Miss Moffat, I promise." 

Meanwliilc, Dr. Murney was ascending the 
staircase. In Kilcurragh, a large and im-'. 
portant to^ni, ho held high rank in liis pro- 
fession. Had his lot been cast in Dublin, he 
might have .come to more honour; but- he had 

VOL. II. X 



3o6 The EarPs Promise, 



been a yeiy succes>sful man, and made money 
enough to enable him to keep joace with the 
timeSj to visit London and Paris and '^rub,'^ 
as he said '^the provincial rust off his mind/^ 
and to enable him to entertain men great in 
science, surgery, and medicine, who from time 
to time crossed the Channel, and took Kil- 
curragh en route from Dublin to Donegal and 
the Giant's Causeway. 

Dr. Girvan and he had often before met in 
consultation, and Mr. Hanlon also was not 
quite a stranger to him. His opinions at all 
events were not ; but whilst he detested them, 
he was obliged to confess the young man had 
brains, and might have done well would he only 
have stuck to physic and left politics alone. 

Mr. Moffat was known to him as a matter 
of course ; and whilst he walked along the cor- 
ridor rubbing his hands, for the night breeze 
and the sea air had conjointly proved chilly, 
he kept up a series of running sentences^ 
" Sad, sad, very sad ; dear, dear, and a man 
no older than myself; a man who took care of 
himself also ; temperate in his habits, careful 



No Change. 307 



in liis diet, really these sudden attacks seem 
to set all our rules at nought. Had I been 
asked to name the last person I knew likely to 
be attacked by apoplectic seizure, I should 
hare named my valued friend Moffat." 

From which it will be seen that Dr. Girvan 
had not summoned up sufficient courage to dis- 
abuse the mind of his colleague of the im- 
pression conveyed to it by Mick. 

The wretched man still hoped against hope 
that he had not been mistaken, and he mentally 
prayed, as, probably, he had never prayed 
before for anything, that Dr. Mumey would 
confirm his first opinion. If he did, Dr. 
GirA^an, in his extremity, felt as if he himself 
could die happily the next moment. 

Dr. Mumey entered the room silently, shook 
hands with Mr. Hanlon, walked over to the 
bed, looked at Mr. Moffat, felt his pulse ; then, 
stepping across the apartment, he took a candle 
from a little table on which lights had been 
placed, and returning to the bedside, leant 
over the patient and studied his appearance 
attentively. 



3o8 The EarVs Promise. 



With a gloomy face Mr. Hanlon watched 
these proceeding!^, holding his- breath in a very 
agony of suspense ; Dr. Girvan watched them 
too. 

^'Here!" said the new-comer at length, 
thrusting the candle towards Mr. Hanlon, who 
took it as indicated ; then Dr. Murney bared 
the sick man's breast, and laid his. ear against 
his heart. 

After that he carefully, tenderly almost, 
replaced the bedclothes, and stood silent for a 
moment, waiting, apparently, for the others to 
speak ; but neither of them uttering a syllable, 
he said, — '-'- This is not apoplexy." 

^' Lord forgive me," murmured Dr. Girvan ; 
and he sat down on the nearest chair, covering, 
his face with his hands. 

^' "What can be done noAV?" asked Mr. 
Hanlon, his voice hoarse, with emotion he waa 
trying to master. 

^'l^othing," rephed Dr. Murney, and he 
walked to the window and looked out, and 
eame back again to where Dr. Girvan sat. 

^^ Don't take on so," he said, speaking. 



No Change, 309 



kindly to the old man, and laying a com- 
passionate liand on his shoulder. ^' If a mis- 
take has been made, better men than-any of us 
have made mistakes before noTT.. I am sure 
you and Mr. Hanlon have acted iii this matter 
to the very best of your judgment'' 

Mr. Hanlon never opened his -lip$ ; Kings- 
lough had not appreciated him, and Dr. Girvan, 
from the first, was his enemy, but he could not 
remember that now. In this hour of bitter 
humiliation, of maddening remoa;se, he felt he 
should have been less than human, to add to 
the old man's self-reproach by recalling how 
persistently he had refused to listen -to his 
remonstrances, how obstinately ha had insisted 
on taking his own course, 

!N"o ; if there were blame to be borne, they 
might bear it together. All the explanations 
on earth could not undo the past, could not 
mend the future. 

But Dr. Girvan, whilst touched by his 
generosity, was labouring under an agony of 
repentance which refused to keep silence. 

'^ Why don't you speak r'' he said, liftinij^ 



310 The EarPs Pro7nise, 



his haggard face and looking at Mr. Hanlon. 
^^ Why don't you tell him how the thing was ? '^ 

^' I have nothing to tell," answered Mr. 
Hanlon. ^' If, as Dr. Murney says, a mistake 
was made, it is too late to undo it now. I 
know I did my best in the case, and I am sui^e 
you did yours. I don't think there is any- 
thing more to be said in the matter." 

'' Doctor, it was me." I^o form of ex- 
pression, let it have been more grammatically 
accurate than the s^Deaker ever conceived, 
could have gone so straight home to the 
hearts of his listeners as that containing those 
four words, — '' Doctor, it was me." ^' If the 
man dies the blame lies at my door. He " — 
pointing to Mr. Hanlon — ^'told me how it 
would be, and I took no heed; I hadn't a 
doubt in my own mind. I believed I was 
doing right, and I did wrong, and now I wish 
I was lying there in his stead. I do," and he 
broke doA^Ti and cried like a child. 

^' I think you said Connelley had been sent 
for also ? " remarked Dr. Murney after standing 
silent for a moment. 

^' YeSj I sent for him in case you should not 



No Change. 311 



be at home/' ansT^ered Mr. Haulon. ^'He 
will be here directly, I should think." 

^^ I am glad he is likely to come," said the 
other; ^^ he maybe able to make some sug- 
gestion. Meanwhile, Dr. Girvan and I will 
go downstairs and have a little talk together." 
And taking the old man's arm he led him 
towards the door. 

Then Dr. Girvan turned, — 

^^Mind," he almost sobbed, ''I am to tell 
this to her myself ; I don't want anybody to 
speak about it but me. Ah, Grace, little I 
thought the hour I helped to bring you into 
the world, that I would one day help to break 
your heart." 

'' She need never know," exclaimed Mr. Han- 
Ion eagerly. 

" Know ! sure you told her yourself. Didn't 
you say, standing where you are now, you 
wouldn't see a man bled to death ? " 

" I did, and more shame for me to have 
spoken such words before his daughter ; but 
we can surely soften it to her, she need not be 
told exactly how the case stands." 

*^ She shall be told the truth ; maybe then 



312 The EarPs Promise, 

she'll forgive me soma time, thougli I can 
never forgive myself*" 

^'Well, you needn't tell her now at any 
rate," interrupted Doctor "Murney; ^^come 
with me. There's many a mistake of this sort 
made that is never found out either by doctors 
themselves or the friends of those they have 
been attending." 

^^ A pleasant confession," thought- Mr. Han- 
Ion as he once again seated himself by the 
window and resumed his watch for dawn. 

Slowly the streaks of light became broader, 
day gently pushed aside the cui-tains of "night 
from the sea, darkness lifted itself gradually, 
the clouds became suffused with crimson, then 
the sun appeared above the horizon, and once 
again the ever -recurring mii^acle of a new day ^ 
had been Avrought upon the earth. 

END OF vox. II. 



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